My workplace pays for me to attend professional development courses mostly in GIS mapping. It's a small business and I'm the only one who needs it for my job and trained to use it.

I would like to know if the training manuals received during the course are mine to keep or do they belong to the business? They did pay for the courses.

The training manuals are paperback instruction manuals and work-books, containing descriptions, references and questions and a place for written answers (which i've filled in).

I can't seem to find any info online so I'm really interested in someones elses take on this.

  • 6
    I'm curious: Why would you think the company does not own something they paid for? – Makyen Oct 29 '16 at 15:09
  • Let's see: My company gave me a laptop to test some of their client's code. I have written several testcases on the laptop as required by the client. Is the laptop mine to keep? – Masked Man Oct 29 '16 at 16:39

They belong to the company, the company paid for the course and training materials, so it's theirs. If you want to keep them, you'll have to ask for permission.


I don't understand why you're asking this question - and I don't mean this in a rude way. Does the company want the training documents? Are you wanting to ... keep them forever? Is there some greater part to this question which allows more meaningful answers?

At the heart of your question, I have no idea who owns them. One comment notes that company laptops are the company's property, not yours. However, you could also note that a company lunch is owned by you, not the company. There is probably some legal stuff about consumption or something?

From past experience the value of a training book is Very Low after a year of the training - if you need the info the workbook isn't going to help much more than a google search or your own personal notes. If you recall the info then you're set - think of it like old lecture notes you had - are they useful to you still?

Also, anybody who didn't do the training is going to struggle to understand the notes - so the value to your co-workers is low.

But I don't understand what you're asking! Are you asking "can I keep these notes at home?" or "do I have to turn them over because my boss asked me to" or "can I start my online notes-sharing company with these notes" or something else? Because right now you're just asking a Very Specific legal question to which the answer is:

check your employment contract and any agreements you signed when you took the course and the copyright on the notes and hire a lawyer and get a legal opinion.


The training manuals were not free. The only reason they are in your hand is because the company paid for the course.

You should not, as a matter of professional courtesy, have written anything but text corrections into these manuals. Don't deface them any further.

If you are still in doubt, check the copyrights on these training manuals. Most likely, you cannot duplicate any part let alone the whole manuals without permission. So whoever owns the copyrights on these manuals is not giving anything away to you.

If you didn't pay for it, you don't have the right to copy it and you can't point to any indication that it explicitly gifted to you or that it was abandoned for you or anyone to take, it's not yours.

  • 2
    Interesting, so If a traning instructor directs the class to write their answers into the workbook that specifically has answer sections to write in, but because my employer paid for the course, I shouldn't write in them? That doesn' seem right. – Cakesy Oct 29 '16 at 14:58
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    If i follow the directions of the instructor your opionion is i've defaced a book? Seriously, stop the class to go find a Xerox machine when u say i have no right to copy the material because i didn't pay for it. Has the world gone completely mad!? – Cakesy Oct 29 '16 at 15:16
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    The company paid the course to learn. If some material is intended to be used to learn by writing on it, it's fine to do so. It isn't different from using any other item belonging to the company to fulfil the company goals as stated by the company management. – Pere Oct 29 '16 at 15:47
  • 1
    I'm in agreement with the manuals being owned by the company, but in disagreement with the rest. If the course materials include space to answer questions, it's entirely legit to write there. Copyright has nothing to do with any of this. – ceejayoz Oct 29 '16 at 16:04
  • 1
    @Cakesy I am also in agreement with ceejayoz. When your employer sends you to attend a training, it is implicitly understood that as an employee you are expected to follow the instructor's directions. If that includes writing answers or drawing doodles, you are doing it as part of your job. Strange as it might sound, the answers you wrote in the manuals also belong to the company. Not really that much different from the code they employed you to write. – Masked Man Oct 29 '16 at 16:34

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