Copyright and sharing resources online

Guidance on using online learning platforms to access and share e-resources.


It is very easy to create, share and reuse content online but the laws regarding copyright and other intellectual property rights still apply.

There are many websites that provide notes and course materials to support students in their studies. Online learning platforms like Course Hero, Chegg and Studocu have resources uploaded from all over the world. This content can be in the format of student notes, full copies of lecture hand-outs and slides, exam papers, e-resources and library books. Unfortunately, many of these resources are in breach of copyright on UWE Bristol teaching materials or the copyright of content licensed by UWE Bristol for the use of its students.

Before you upload anything online, consider your actions and whether sharing the content is the right thing to do. Consider how would you feel if you had your own work shared without your permission. 

Sharing your lecture notes

If you have made your own notes in a lecture, you are free to distribute them as you want provided that these notes are not exact copies of course materials and lectures. 

When you upload your own content to an online learning platform, you never lose your copyright. However, by doing so, you agree to license your content to be hosted and used in specific ways as set out in the terms of service of that site.

Remember that once material has been shared online, the process to remove it can be bureaucratic and time consuming.

Resources that cannot be shared

At the start of each year of your studies, you sign and agree to terms of use for UWE Bristol teaching materials. Sharing UWE Bristol copyrighted materials or licensed content online infringes upon this agreement and could result in action under the Student Conduct Policy (PDF).

When you upload material to an online learning platform you will be asked to confirm that you have permission to do this including for any third-party content (for example material from books, journals, e-resources and other similar content).

You should not upload anything that you do not own the rights to, including:

  • copies or transcripts of UWE Bristol teaching materials, such as slides and exam papers
  • content from UWE Bristol library resources.

Generative AI

It is in breach of your terms of use if you upload UWE Bristol content or licensed e-resources to a generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) tool. Once uploaded to a generative AI tool, all control of its reuse is lost, including your own personal content. Read our guide about when and how to use generative AI in your studies for more information about this.

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