Copyright applies to any original expression fixed in tangible form. Copyright exists upon the creation of an eligible work—you do not have to do anything to obtain it. A central tenet of copyright is that authors should have the right to reasonably control the use of their creative output and to receive appropriate recognition for their contribution. At UO, employee authors and creators will own the copyright to works and materials which they create unless:
- The works were developed with significant institutional resources.
- The works were developed using funds awarded under a sponsored project or otherwise administered by UO.
- The works were developed as a part of a specific work assignment, e.g. given by a supervisor or identified in an employment agreement.
Works developed without funding and not as a specific work assignment, but with minimal use of UO resources, are not required to be assigned to UO. The university asserts copyright ownership over only those materials that fall within the parameters defined by UO Internal Directives for IP:
To be owned by their authors or creators:
- Lecture notes and other materials prepared by academic staff in connection with a teaching assignment and with only incidental use of institutional facilities, funds, staff, and other resources normally shall be viewed as flowing from individual effort and initiative and shall not be construed as having been produced in the course of discharging the obligations of employment.
- Except as provided in the directives, the ownership rights to all forms of educational and professional material in the form of books, musical or dramatic composition, architectural designs, paintings, sculptures, or other works of comparable type developed by institution employees, either in conjunction with or aside from their employment, shall accrue to the author, unless the material is prepared in compliance with contractual provisions or as a specific work assignment, or significant institutional resources were utilized. An academic staff person's general obligation to produce scholarly works does not constitute such a specific institution assignment.
To be owned by UO:
- materials developed with institutional resources
- materials developed in the course of employment means, either materials for which the author was employed for the specific purpose of preparing or producing, or for which the author was specifically directed to develop as part of general employment duties and responsibilities
- materials which were developed with significant institution-assisted effort, and materials developed under sponsored assignments
UO exempts material published in scholarly or professional journals without monetary compensation from any requirement to assign copyrights to UO. Most journals require and receive copyright assignments or licenses directly from the authors.
The general obligation of academic staff to produce scholarly works does not constitute a specific work assignment, and therefore in the absence of the other guideline conditions above (no specific directed work assignment or contract, no funding, no significant institutional resources) the copyrights to such works are not obligated to be assigned to UO (UO Internal Directives for IP).
UO provides the following practical guidelines for what must be disclosed and what doesn’t necessarily need to be disclosed to IPS:
Disclosure to IPS is not required:
- In cases where copyrighted materials should be university owned but for which there are no rights licensed or no licensing to third parties in exchange for compensation. IPS will consider proper attribution on the work (© University of Oregon) rather than physical disclosure to IPS to be sufficient to fulfill any disclosure requirement (UO Internal Directives for IP).
For practical purposes we are extending this approach to other works, which may include software and other materials that may be distributed under Open Source or Creative Commons licensing, or course materials for either online or physical classes that are created with significant use of institutional resources (please see course materials section). UO is allowing the authors of these works to decide how they would like to give permission to third parties to use UO copyrighted works (and not requiring that you tell us about it) as long as: 1) there is no money involved; 2) all authors have disclosed any potential conflict of interest; 3) if there is a potential conflict, the authors have obtained a UO COI management plan; and 4) the proper name is used in the copyright notice. Although not required, these materials may still be disclosed to IPS, and IPS remains a resource to faculty and research projects to discuss the licensing and management of these materials.
Disclosure to IPS is required:
- In cases where copyrighted materials should be university owned and for which there will be or may be rights licensed to third parties in exchange for compensation.
If there is any question about whether or not a copyright work must be disclosed, we encourage you to discuss your project with IPS. Additionally, IPS staff can help with copyright registration, formally documenting the copyright for increased protection.
IPS will license copyrighted works in counsel with the authors and with the best interests of the innovation and the goals of the project in mind.
As a consequence of our guidelines on copyright disclosure, there will be UO-owned copyright works where the authors will have control over the grant of rights and licensing of the work provided that proper attribution is made. IPS is a resource for these employees to aid in navigating licensing options, and we encourage authors to use the appropriate Creative Commons or Open Source licenses when distributing the work, if applicable. Please contact IPS for guidance navigating your options in protecting your copyright and distributing materials in line with project goals.
Learn more about copyright
With IPS Associate Vice President for Innovation Dr. Charles Williams