Copyright Issues in Online Courses: Ownership, Authorship and Conflict

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2001


Distance education is proliferating, although legal education has been comparatively slow to adapt to this trend. Despite the legal academy's reluctance to embrace distance education, the number of institutions gravitating toward on-line courses mandates attention to important legal issues surrounding the use of this educational medium. The creation of on-line courses presents many novel copyright issues. This Article focuses on the ownership and authorship issues surrounding the creation of on-line courses. First, it explores the parameters of copyright protection generally and specifically how copyright applies to the creation of on-line course materials. It then examines issues regarding the general question of how the doctrines determining the recipients of copyright's incentives should be applied in the context of on-line course materials, and offers some concluding observations.