Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights Clarification for Instructors using D2L and TopHat

In simple terms, the usage agreement for an online service provider describe that:

  1. You retain exclusive copyright, ownership, and intellectual property rights for all of the content you create and for which you own intellectual property rights.
  2. The vendor retains copyright, ownership, and intellectual property rights for the website design, logos, and computer code used to provide the online service.
  3. You grant the vendor the rights to store and duplicate your content so that it can be distributed to your students or other registered participants.

The agreements the University has signed with Desire2Learn and Top Hat Monocle clearly provide that D2L and Top Hat do not have any ownership interest in any materials uploaded onto their systems by users.  In particular:

(a) the D2L agreement states: “D2L makes no claim of license, title or ownership to Client Information.  D2L shall not use Client Information except as may be required to provide the Products and Services under this Master Agreement.”  And it defines Client Information as “course content, materials, personal information, and any other data that Client [i.e. the University](or its authorized users) uploads or enters through its lawful use of Products and Services”; and

(b) the Top Hat agreement states: “As between Top Hat Monocle and Customer [i.e. the University], Customer exclusively owns all rights, title and interest in and to all Customer Data in accordance with its policies.”  And it defines Customer Data as “all electronic data or information submitted by Customer or a User to the System for transmission to Users including teaching and learning materials …”