Ethics and Legal Issues in Writing and Publishing

This course is designed for communications professionals, in order for you to begin to understand a core set of principles. These principles will help guide you in your writing and editing practice, particularly within the context of issues currently at play in the publishing and communications sectors where information, images, and written texts are often shared quickly online and via social media. We will look at a diverse selection of materials, culled from resources based on my own experience as an author and a lawyer. The course is designed to introduce you to the basic concepts of copyright, permissions, privacy and other related issues and contains resources that will help you in your day to day practice.

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).

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Renee Sarojini Saklikar $452.00 23 Register

Instructional hours: 12

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will you learn?

By the end of the course, you will 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 will you learn?

  • Reading course materials
  • Online discussions
  • Assignments, including a final assignment
  • Participation in discussions
  • Independent study

How will you be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on the following:

  • Participation
  • Assignments, including a final assignment
  • Two short papers, one of which will be peer-evaluated

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide all course materials online.

Hardware and software requirements

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

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.

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