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U of M profs get heads-up on students' online posts

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UNIVERSITY of Manitoba's professors say students are trading online in lecture and course material that is the personal property of individual professors.

The students could face charges of violating copyright law.

"Members are encouraged to advise students that they do not have ownership rights to materials you develop, and that posting or any other means of publishing these materials is prohibited," UMFA president Prof. Cameron Morrill told professors by email.

"Of particular concern is the platform for sharing course materials. The course materials you have created, including lectures, course notes, laboratory materials, exams and other works created by members for their class, are your intellectual property and cannot be published without your permission," Morrill said.

He told professors UMFA has become aware of a national website, LocAZu, on which students can exchange or buy and sell textbooks, study materials, old exams and lecture notes.

"UMFA strongly recommends against this method of sharing course materials," Morrill said.

Students build up credits on the site by posting information, after which they can download information posted by other students.

"It's no violation to share your notes of a lecture," Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director Jim Turk said from Ottawa.

But Turk warned: "(Students are) not at liberty to tape someone's lecture and send it around. If the student did that, they're in violation of copyright law.

"(Students) can't make a verbatim transcript of a lecture and share it without permission. If I (as a professor) hand out course notes I prepared, those are my intellectual property. (Students) can't steal that person's work," Turk said.

He said the LocAZu website appears to be based in British Columbia, but who's involved is vague.

U of M Students Union president Camilla Tapp could not be reached Thursday. Officials from LocAZu did not respond to an email request for an interview.

The LocAZu home page says: "Share study materials, ace your courses," and "Get everything you need to get through college, from books to parties."

Membership and a password are required to get into the site.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 16, 2011 A10

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