Schools and universities now host much of their course content online. Learning management systems such as Canvas and Blackboard allow students to access the content from anywhere, at any time of day. However, without adequate protection of your work, you could find your content resold or reused without permission. Therefore, if you create eLearning content — whether as a freelance writer or educational institution, you need to know how to protect your intellectual property (IP) rights. This article explains how to do this by drafting an eLearning intellectual property licence agreement.

Learning Management Systems

A learning management system (LMS) hosts eLearning content. It provides an online, accessible platform for education and training courses to be delivered to users. In Australia, popular LMS include Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard, Litmos and SchooX.

Each LMS offers different features. However, most LMS should have the ability to:

  • host online course materials such as audio, video and document files;
  • facilitate forums, wikis, blogs and personal messaging;
  • calculate and display data such as grades; and
  • enable users to download, edit and upload a range of document and multimedia file types.

If you create eLearning content for an LMS, you want to ensure that you also protect your IP rights. To do this, you will need an eLearning intellectual property licence agreement. However, the type of agreement you need will differ depending on whether you are a course creator or an external content provider. Each has different IP rights to protect.

IP Rights of Course Creators

A course creator provides content directly to students, publishing it on the LMS they operate. A common example is a university providing lecture notes. The biggest risk is that a student will republish it somewhere else. For example, by hosting the content on a blog, on YouTube, or even selling it on an online marketplace. This would be a breach of copyright.

Therefore, to protect their eLearning intellectual property rights, the course creator needs an agreement with every student who uses the content. This agreement will focus on how the students can use the content. For example, by specifying that it may only be used for the course, and not republished elsewhere. The course creator can have the students accept the agreement at the time they sign up for the course. 

IP Rights of External Content Providers

An external content provider does not provide content directly to students, but rather to the course creator. For example, you may run a freelance business writing educational content for a university. 

The biggest risk is that the course creator reuses the content without permission. For example, by paying to use it in one course, and then reusing it in a second course without payment. There is also a risk that students will republish the content externally.

Therefore, an external content provider needs an eLearning intellectual property licence agreement with the course creator stating that:

  • the provider retains intellectual property rights in the content;
  • the course creator does not own the content; and
  • the course creator agrees to be liable for their students’ misuse of the content.

The eLearning Intellectual Property Licence Agreement

Every intellectual property licence agreement will typically contain some key terms regarding how the content can be used or changed. 

Key Term Why it is Important
Using the content does not assign rights to the intellectual property Ensures you retain ownership of the content, allowing you to use it again
No republishing Stops the content user republishing your content without your permission (e.g. by reposting on a website)
No sublicensing content Stops the content user from giving your content to other course creators
No changing content Stops the content user from changing your content without permission
No broadcasting content Stops the content user from broadcasting the content in public (e.g. over YouTube)
No derivative works Stops the content user from adapting your content into new courses


Besides these key terms, you can also include terms tailored to your specific circumstances. For example, you may wish to restrict the age of users, or perhaps the timeframe within which your content is accessible. Importantly, if you intend to charge a fee for access to the content, the agreement should set out your payment terms. 

Key Takeaways

Many educational institutions now deliver eLearning content via an LMS. However, if you create content for an LMS, you must protect your IP rights. An intellectual property licence agreement will do this by specifying how users can and cannot use your content. In this case, ‘users’ can mean both students as well as the educational institution publishing the content.

If you need help drafting an eLearning intellectual property licence agreement, call LegalVision’s IP lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Jacqueline Gibson
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy