Is it legal to sell notes taken in a college course?
Would it be legal to sell lecture notes of a particular college course to individuals who may or may not be students of that class? Would permission from the lecturer need to be obtained?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Is it legal to sell notes taken in a college course?
This is not legal advice, and should not be construed to create an attorney-client relationship. The general information provided may or may not apply in your particular situation.
The first question I have for you is whether these are notes you took or whether the notes were taken by someone else or off of a recording.
Generally, ideas are not copyrightable, but the expression of ideas is. If these lecture notes are your expression of what the lecturer said, then you are probably within your rights to sell them (and perhaps even copyright them). If, however, the notes belong to the lecturer or another notetaker, you would need that person's permission to use them. In addition, if the notes are direct transcriptions from a recording, the copyright belongs to the lecturer, not to you.
You would not be the first person to sell lecture notes. In fact, a student from Harvard law school in the 70s began selling his class notes and turned it into a still-thriving nationwide commercial enterprise of law school supplements. [One of his professors discovered that the notes contained a mistake and put that mistake on the final, however, just to sabotage the guy.]
Related Questions & Answers
Common Law marriage I have been dating a girl for 2 1/2 years and we have not been... Asked 4/30/02, 2:37 am in United States California Intellectual Property
Is it ''fair use'' to fictionalize someone's nonfiction research? I found several... Asked 4/26/02, 2:33 pm in United States California Intellectual Property
Copyright ownership I'm a freelance graphic designer. Many of my clients are design... Asked 4/25/02, 3:44 pm in United States California Intellectual Property
E-mail list as intellectual property? Could a list of e-mail addresses legally be... Asked 4/20/02, 4:30 pm in United States California Intellectual Property
Trademarking a fraternity I belong to a fraternity in Northern California that has... Asked 4/18/02, 4:42 pm in United States California Intellectual Property