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A few weeks ago, there was a discussion about copyright issues
(specifically regarding the rights of students with respect to
assignments handed in via email).
 
Anyone with access to the World Wide Web who has copyright questions
can consult http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/gen/ref/ILTcopy.html.
 
It seems that the copyright laws now state that any work is
automatically copyrighted, regardless of the medium, and regardless
of whether the author actually takes any legal steps to procure a
copyright.  The legal steps simply document the copyright; they don't
create it.
 
So, for instance, the message you're now reading is copyrighted,
simply because I wrote it.  Period.
 
I won't post the relevant sections here, because most people probably
aren't interested.  If anyone is, I can email them to you...
 
Incidentally, regarding the specific issue that was discussed here on
LRNASST, it seems to me that, irrespective of the copyright laws,
there shouldn't be much difference between distributing a student's work
that was handed in on paper and distributing one that was emailed.
 
All that being said, I think it's fine to distribute students' work to
the class, but it's wise to get their approval first.  I'll bet the
student who objected did so because she wasn't asked for permission.
 
- Gary
 
     Gary M. Parilis, Ph.D.                     Campus Director, CAC
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