Student works and copyright

All the basic citing rules are considered to be known.

The student is the author and the copyright holder of his/her work (semester project, master project, etc.).

If a teacher wishes to reproduce an extract from a student’s work, he or she may do so by citing its source (even if the work has not been published). If (s)he wish to reproduce a large part or all of a student’s work, the student’s prior consent must be obtained . The student may then accept and become a co-author of the publication or refuse (e.g. the student plans to publish the work himself or herself or to use it in some other context).

In the context of a project carried out in a company, the student remains the author of the work but is not necessarily the rights holder. It depends on the contract signed with the company. If the contract does not stipulate anything about it and the work is remunerated, the company holds the economic rights. Otherwise (no remuneration and no verbal or written contract), the student is the rights holder and is free to transfer the work to the company.

Software created as part of a student’s work (semester project, bachelor’s or master’s work, internship) belongs to its author, unless the author has been remunerated for this work.

The confidentiality clause can also be part of the contract concluded with the company. If this clause extends to the work, the student is prohibited from disclosing the company’s data used for the work, outside the restricted circle of the responsible teacher and the expert.

A student is entitled to publish his or her work as long as (s)he has cited each of the sources used and has obtained permission from the rights holders to distribute the images. As author, (s)he is the only person who can decide whether (s)he wants to publish or reproduce the work. If there are several authors, the publication or reproduction of the work is subject to the agreement of each of them. For the deposit and the dissemination through the institutional archive Infoscience, it is necessary to check with the section for any special conditions.

The educational exception (Fastguide #5) defined in art. 19 par. 1b of the LDA does not apply to publication.

As the author of the work, the student is the only one who can decide whether or not to disclose it (both internet and intranet). Unlike a doctoral thesis that must be published, student projects may remain undisclosed.

The name of a professor is engaged when (s)he has reviewed the student’s work and judged it as at least sufficient. Otherwise, if the work has not been checked or has been deemed insufficient, the student must specify for publication that the work has not been checked, or must add the mention “Not approved by the EPFL”.


The partial reproduction of a work is authorized in all cases. However, the reproduction of a complete work is permitted only for strictly private use (LDA art. 19) and is not permitted for educational purposes.

An image is considered to be a complete work, while an extract from a video or soundtrack is not.

Making the reproduced work available outside the restricted circle of family and friends is forbidden. This includes the publication on the freely accessible web (website, blog, wiki, etc.). Making a work available on a restricted access space (intranet with authentication or Moodle), requires the consent of the copyright holder.  

A person can only publish or make available on the web the works for which (s)he owns the rights. However, if (s)he wishes to publish the work of another author or made in collaboration with another person, the explicit permission of the right holder is required. Therefore, a student cannot put online / copy a teacher’s course materials (quizzes, series of exercises, exams, etc.).

On the EPFL campus or via VPN, EPFL students have access to electronic resources such as scientific journals. Students can use them professionally and privately in accordance with Fair Use and the licenses negotiated by the institution. For access to software, students must contact their faculty.