I am a college student who is currently enrolled in a class where the professor posts lecture videos online with ads enabled. I was wondering if this is legal; the professor is being paid by the university to lecture, but is also making money from ads on his lecture videos.

  • 2
    It's probably legal; I doubt there is any law against it (but we don't know what jurisdiction you're in, so no way to know what your laws are). But it probably violates the university's rules against conflicts of interest. – Nate Eldredge May 16 '17 at 23:14
  • 1
    Is it legal ir ethical to write a text book and make a little money? – Jon Custer May 17 '17 at 0:09
  • 3
    @JonCuster: Yes, but whether it's ethical to make said money off your own students is open to question. – Nate Eldredge May 17 '17 at 0:13
  • Yes, because textbook writing involves no interactions with students. If the video is the recording of a lecture, really, how does this involve students in a major way? – Jon Custer May 17 '17 at 0:32
  • 1
    @JonCuster the textbook analogy would apply if purchasing the textbook was mandatory. As students, we are required to watch these videos. I would say that publishing your own book and making it a required purchase is inherently biased and is similar to this scenario (albeit without monetary cost to the student body) – William Anderson May 17 '17 at 0:51

Legal? Probably yes, depending on university policy.

Ethical? Universities and politics nowadays encourage academics to be business-savvy and profit-oriented (I guess, as long as the uni gets a cut). So, while the described constellation indeed carries a "smell", it may be perfectly in line what society wants academics to do.

  • 3
    To the downvoters: note that OP was talking about "ads enabled". We are not talking about entertainment videos, but education. – Captain Emacs May 17 '17 at 0:59

If the institution provides the server and other necessary resources to host videos, then the students are essentially paying for this through their tuition and shouldn't have to put up with ads.

However, if the professor provides the recording equipment etc., and has to arrange for the video hosting, etc. without this being provided by the institution, then I don't see anything wrong with this. It might even be that the video hosting site imposes the ads and the professor doesn't profit from them at all.

  • Even if the uni offers hosting, there might be limitations in size, availability etc that makes less desirable then Youtube. Also, the teacher may want to make it available for a wider audience than his/her students. In that case, using the university hosting would be the unethical solution. – Greg May 17 '17 at 12:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.