Appropriate use of course-related material by students

09 Nov 2015



Re: Appropriate Use of Course-Related Material by Students

Dear Colleagues:

It has come to our attention that various companies are encouraging students to offer class notes online for a fee. While these companies are offering reassurances that there is “nothing wrong” with uploading class notes, all students should know that in doing so they are violating university policy and potentially state law.

The University of California Student Policies and Regulations Handbook (Section 102.23) states that “selling, preparing, or distributing for any commercial purpose course lecture notes or video or audio recordings of any course unless authorized by the University in advance and explicitly permitted by the course instructor in writing. The unauthorized sale or commercial distribution of course notes or recordings by a student is a violation of these Policies whether or not it was the student or someone else who prepared the notes or recordings.”  Violating university policy may result in disciplinary action, including probation, suspension, or other actions, which may have a serious effect on a student’s academic career.

In addition, the California Education Code (Section 66450) states that “no business, agency, or person, including, but not necessarily limited to, an enrolled student, shall prepare, cause to be prepared, give, sell, transfer, or otherwise distribute or publish, for any commercial purpose, any contemporaneous recording of an academic presentation in a classroom or equivalent site of instruction by an instructor of record. This prohibition applies to a recording made in any medium, including, but not necessarily limited to, handwritten or typewritten class notes.”  Engaging in this commercial practice is considered a civil offense that may be associated with significant financial penalties and could also result in copyright infringement.

Note that this does not apply to notetakers hired by the Disability Resource Center working in their official capacity.

Any suspicions that classroom material is being circulated for commercial purposes should be reported to the Office of Conduct and Community Standards via email at


Richard Hughey

Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education