How can a lecture note be acknowledged in another lecture note? In other words, is it sufficient to express appreciation or does it have to be added as a reference?

  • Assuming the original was subject to copyright, have you sought permission or otherwise limited your use using fair-use principles? Limiting distribution can be a plus. Re-publishing has caveats.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 13:58
  • @Buffy Why do you assume there is copyright infringement here? If OP is merely following the same approach as the other set of notes, without copying or paraphrasing directly their content, I think they are in the clear legally. And, in any case, normally we acknowledge previous literature to give credit where it is due and follow good scholarly ethics, not to follow copyright law. The two concepts are different. Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 15:43
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    @FedericoPoloni, I don't assume anything. I suggest the OP needs to consider the possibility.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 15:46
  • @Buffy Then I suggest to use a sentence like "have you made sure you don't need to seek permission", not "have you sought permission". With your wording you give the impression that this is always a requirement, while in practice it rarely is. Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 15:49
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    @BryanKrause Not in my view. Fair-use doctrine only applies if OP is copying text verbatim, or paraphrasizing it with minor changes (and only in some countries), if I understand correctly. Following the same general approach as another set of notes does not give copyright problems, no matter how extensive the usage is. This is no question of limiting usage, in my mind. Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


Lecture notes are normally not some one's original research. It is taken from already printed material. Expressing appreciation is sufficient.

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    Lecture notes might, however, have creative elements and be subject to copyright. For example, some contain insights beyond known facts. It can be more subtle than this suggests.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 13:57

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