Copyright protects and promotes the creation of intellectual assets that are critical to academic endeavors and thus is fundamental to the creation and sharing of knowledge. Board of Regents Policy: Copyright and federal law establish rules governing the ownership of works created by University faculty, staff, and students.
Copyright Ownership by Faculty and by Employees with Faculty-Like Appointments. University faculty and University employees who have a "faculty-like" appointment own the copyright in their academic works, as provided in Board of Regents Policy: Copyright.
Faculty members and University employees with faculty-like appointments also hold the copyright in software that they develop in the course of or within the scope of their University employment and that is an academic work. In Board of Regents Policy: Copyright, University claims ownership of the copyright in that software if:
- it was a directed work;
- a specially ordered or commissioned work;
- a work of administration; or
- a work created under a sponsored project.
The University also claims ownership of the copyright in software developed in the course of or within the scope of an individual’s University employment if it is not an academic work and in software so developed by an individual who is not a member of the faculty and does not hold a faculty-like appointment. Under Board of Regents Policy: Commercialization of Intellectual Property Rights policy, the University claims ownership of the patent rights in all software developed at the University, including software that is an academic work.
A person may perform faculty-like duties as part of the person's position and, therefore, under Board of Regents Policy: Copyright, be deemed to have a faculty-like appointment in connection with those particular duties only; the balance of the person's duties would not constitute a faculty-like appointment.
The dean or the chair/head of the relevant unit will decide whether an individual holds a faculty-like appointment based on the definition of faculty-like contained in Board of Regents Policy: Copyright. The decision whether an individual holds a faculty-like appointment may be appealed. Such decision is relevant only in relation to Board of Regents Policy: Copyright.
Copyright Ownership by Students. Students own the copyright in works created in or as part of a University course. Nevertheless a University college, department, or unit may reserve rights to use the work consistent with the rules and guidelines of the relevant college, department, or unit. The University may require a student, as a condition of enrolling in a course or course of study or otherwise participating in a University activity, to permit it to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, or otherwise use a work the student authored. The University also may require a student to permit the University to archive a work created and owned by the student.
The University owns the copyright in works created by students as part of their employment by the University, for example as research or teaching assistants. The University will permit a University faculty member or a University employee who has a "faculty-like" appointment to use a work created by a student as part of the student's employment as the University faculty member’s or such University employee’s research or teaching assistant. The permission extends to using the work in performing academic duties (including creating an academic work) at the University. The University generally will not assert ownership interest in the copyright in an academic work authored jointly by University faculty or a University employee who has a "faculty-like" appointment and by a University student employed as a research assistant. The University will only claim copyright ownership in such a work if the work is a directed work, a work specially ordered or commissioned by the University, a work created in connection with the administration of the University, or a work created pursuant to a contract with an outside sponsor that provides for University ownership of the copyright in the work.
Copyright Ownership by the University. Federal copyright law vests in an employer ownership of the copyright in works authored by its employees in the course of their employment. Federal law, however, permits employers to vest that copyright ownership in its employees in designated works or classes of works. Consistent with federal law, the University owns the copyright in works created by University employees in the course of their employment except for ownership rights vested in faculty, University employees holding a "faculty-like" appointment and students as provided in Board of Regents Policy: Copyright.
The University owns the copyright in audio and visual recordings or transmissions of courses, lectures, or other events delivered by University faculty, staff, or students to University students and others. However, the University's claim extends only to recordings or transmissions created by it or its agents or contractors, not to recordings created by faculty or University employees with "faculty-like" appointments at that person’s direction and instigation. The University's recording or transmitting of such a lecture or other audio or video presentation, standing alone, would not grant the University under federal law any ownership interest in an academic work presented in the lecture or presentation.
Ownership of Joint Works. Federal copyright law grants authors of a joint work equal ownership and rights to use the work. Federal law permits such authors to agree to different ownership and use rules. The University encourages authors of a joint work created at the University to enter into a written agreement providing for ownership, attribution, use, sharing of royalty or other income, and the registration and protection of the work.
Registration and Protection of Works. The University will not register or otherwise protect or enforce the copyright in works it does not own. The University may register and protect the copyright in a work in which it has some right, title, or interest.
Management of Copyrights. Having a more open access to works created by University faculty, staff, and students directly and strategically benefits the University and University faculty, staff, and students who will use the works. The University encourages owners of academic works to manage the copyright in the works so as to provide the greatest possible scholarly and public access to the works.
Credit and Attribution. Irrespective of copyright ownership, there is a professional and ethical obligation of University faculty, staff, or students to credit or attribute creation of a work appropriately.
Reason for Policy
This administrative policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Copyright (PDF). The policy promotes compliance and provides guidelines for following the Copyright Policy.