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).

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 0 Join Waitlist
Online - - TBD $452.00 23 Register
Online - - TBD $452.00 25 Register

Instructional hours: 12

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

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?

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

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Reading course materials
  • Online discussions
  • Assignments, including a final assignment
  • Independent study

Course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

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 About Online Learning 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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