Ethics and Legal Issues in Writing and Publishing

Writers, editors, and publishers face many ethical and legal issues. Ethical topics in this course include how and when to use and share information, images, and written texts both in the context of traditional publishing and via social media. Legal topics include copyright basics, libel, and the right to privacy. We’ll pay attention to how all of this plays out over the Internet by looking at a diverse set of materials. You’ll be able to contribute to lively discussions on these issues and complete written assignments to test your knowledge.

Please note that nothing in this course should be taken as legal advice. The practice of understanding and applying the laws of intellectual property is both a learned skill and an art, requiring years of training and study. Under our system of laws, only a judge determines whether copyright has been infringed.

There are two weeks of independent study at the end of the course. The final assignment for this course is due at the end of the self-study period (20 days after the last date listed in the schedule).

Instructional hours: 12


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 4 weeks
Tuition: $452
Can be applied to:
Editing Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Seats Available
Start DateThu, Sep 12, 2024
  • Thu, Sep 12 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Sep 19 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Sep 26 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Oct 3 (self-paced all week)
InstructorSara El Rayess
Seats Available17
Start DateThu, Nov 7, 2024
  • Thu, Nov 7 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Nov 14 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Nov 21 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Nov 28 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available24
Start DateThu, Jan 23, 2025
  • Thu, Jan 23 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Jan 30 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Feb 6 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Feb 13 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available25
Start DateThu, May 29, 2025
  • Thu, May 29 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Jun 5 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Jun 12 (self-paced all week)
  • Thu, Jun 19 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available25

What you will learn

After completing this course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Identify and describe the basic components of copyright law in Canada
  • Analyze legal issues arising from the application of copyright law
  • Identify and analyze copyright infringement and its exceptions
  • Identify definitions of plagiarism
  • Identify definitions of libel and slander
  • Analyze issues arising out of a selection of Canadian case law dealing with the law related to libel and slander
  • Examine case studies to develop a sense of the ethical considerations faced by writers and editors
  • Review the legal concepts learned in first four modules, as they apply to real-life fact patterns

How you will learn and be evaluated

Prepare to spend 6–10 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Readings
  • Discussions
  • Assignments
  • Independent study

You will be evaluated on:

  • Assignments
  • Participation in discussions

Learning Materials

We will provide all course materials online.

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.

This course requires:

English Language Requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.