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Ownership of course materials

Effective Date: September 25, 2003

I. Policy Summary

The purpose of this Policy on Ownership of Course Materials is to supplement the existing Copyright Ownership Policy by addressing copyright ownership issues related to materials prepared for instructional purposes.

II. Definitions

Course Materials  Materials prepared for use in teaching, fixed or unfixed, in any form, including, but not limited to, digital, print, audio, visual, or any combination thereof. Course materials include, but are not limited to, lectures, lecture notes, and materials, syllabi, study guides, bibliographies, visual aids, images, diagrams, multimedia presentations, web-ready content, and educational software.

Course Approval Documents  Documents submitted, reviewed and approved pursuant to applicable Academic Senate regulations related to the approval of courses of instruction, typically consisting of a course description, a statement of learning objectives and a topical outline.

Exceptional University Resources  University Resources (including but not limited to University Facilities and University Funds, as described below) significantly in excess of the usual support generally available to similarly situated faculty members. Customary secretarial support, library facilities, office space, personal computers, access to computers and networks, and academic year salary are not considered exceptional university resources.

Designated Instructional Appointees  University employees who serve as Instructors of Record and have a general obligation to produce course materials. Included are all members of the Academic Senate and Clinical Professors. Appointees in other academic titles may also be designated by the President.

The following definitions from the University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership are also applicable:

Originator(s)  One who produces a work by his or her own intellectual labor. When there is more than one originator, the ownership of each originator's contribution shall be considered separately pursuant to this Policy.

University Facilities  Buildings, equipment, and other facilities under the control of the University, that are designated by the appropriate Chancellor, Laboratory Director, or Vice President as requiring an advance agreement, from non-University personnel and University personnel acting outside the scope of their employment, concerning the disposition of any copyrighted works that are originated with the use of these facilities. Such facilities normally include campus computer centers and normally do not include University libraries. For the purposes of this Policy, the Department of Energy Laboratories are considered to be under the control of the University.

University Funds  Funds, regardless of source, that are administered under the control, responsibility, or authority of the University.

University Resources  University funds or facilities.

Work  Any copyrighted expression, including literary work (written lectures are included); musical work including any accompanying words; dramatic work, including any accompanying music; pantomimes and choreographic work; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural work; motion pictures and other audiovisual work; sound recordings; and computer software.

III. Policy text

A. Ownership of Course Materials Originated by Designated Instructional Appointees.

Except as provided below, ownership of the rights to Course Materials, including copyright, shall reside with the Designated Instructional Appointee who creates them. However, the University retains a fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive worldwide license to any Course Approval Documents for the purpose of continuing to teach the course of instruction for which the documents were prepared, with the non-exclusive right to revise and update them as required for this purpose.

B. Personal Work, Student Work, Sponsored Work, Commissioned Work, and Contracted Facilities Work.

Ownership of Course Materials that constitute Personal Works, Student Works, Sponsored Works, Commissioned Works, or Contracted Facilities Works are defined in and shall be governed by the University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership.

C. Course Materials Created with the Use of Exceptional University Resources.

Ownership of the rights to Course Materials created, in whole or in part, by Designated Instructional Appointees with the use of Exceptional University Resources shall be governed by a written agreement entered into between the Originator(s) and the University. The agreement shall specify how rights will be owned and controlled and how any revenues will be divided if the materials are commercialized.

Chancellors and Laboratory Directors manage University Resources under their control. Chancellors shall develop campus policies and procedures to assist campus resource managers to determine when Exceptional University Resources are involved and will assess the need for an agreement prior to the commitment of resources to a project to which this provision might apply. The University may at any time request a new agreement, or renegotiation of an existing agreement, as a condition for the subsequent allocation or continuation of Exceptional University Resources provided to Designated Instructional Appointees. In the absence of an agreement, course materials will not be deemed as created with the use of Exceptional University Resources, and ownership of these materials shall be governed by Sections III. A, III. B, and III. D of this Policy.

To promote increased Universitywide understanding of the evolving circumstances of the use of University resources in instruction, copies of all agreements for Course Materials created with the use of Exceptional University Resources shall be filed with the UC Standing Committee on Copyright.

D. Jointly Originated Works.

Ownership of rights to Course Materials that are created by the intellectual labor of more than one person shall be owned jointly, pursuant to the provisions of the Policy on Copyright Ownership, Section V. If Course Materials are created jointly, ownership of those contributions of Designated Instructional Appointee(s) shall be governed by this Policy, and the contribution of others shall be governed by the Policy on Copyright Ownership. Ownership of the rights to jointly originated Works shall be determined by separately assessing the Category of Work of each Originator pursuant to the Policy on Copyright Ownership.

IV. Compliance/responsibilities

To promote Universitywide consistency in the interpretation of this Policy and provide a means for the University to gain the benefit of the diverse experiences of the campuses and laboratories, the Standing Committee on Copyright shall regularly review implementation of this Policy and the agreements on Course Materials created with the use of Exceptional University Resources. The Committee will make recommendations to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for policy revisions or implementation guidelines that may be needed to achieve these purposes.

V. Related information

1992 Policy on Copyright Ownership

Using Course Materials Developed for UC Outside the University

In using Course Materials outside the University of California, Designated Instructional Appointees shall abide by applicable University policies including but not limited to:

  • Use of the University's Name (DA 0864, May 3, 1985) 
  • University Seal (DA 0865, May 3, 1985)
  • The Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Outside Activities of Faculty Members (APM 025).
  • The prohibition on use of University facilities for commercial purposes (APM 015 Part II..C3) 
  • Electronic Communication Policy, especially Section III, Allowable Use.
  • Business and Finance Bulletin BUS-29, Section N, Personal Use of Property
  • Policy and Guidelines on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials for Teaching and Research

Policy in PDF format