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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 1998

Case Law & Copyright

The law on the use instructors can make of material developed by students was elaborated in a recent Ontario case. According to the decision, a professor published a paper prepared by a student without giving the student credit. Who is liable for what? On the facts of the case, the court held that the professor who merely supervised the student cannot claim co-authorship. In this case the professor was found to have given direction to the student and offered some suggestions, but had not participated in the drafting. He was not, therefore, considered to have responsibility for the content of the paper. If a professor publishes in his or her own name without giving credit to the student, this results, according to the court, in plagiarism. In this case the professor was found guilty but, significantly, the university was also found liable for failing to monitor and regulate the actions of its employee and was also required to pay damages.

Source: Association of Academic Staff: University of Alberta Newsletter, January 1998.