UW System General Guideline

UW system general guidelines statement for copyright, ownership and use of instructional materials

The following guidelines provide that certain materials may be copyrighted in the names of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

These guidelines are an effort to bring into focus some of the underlying issues involved in the ownership and copyrighting of instructional materials. This is necessary because the University, with greater frequency, may have a direct interest in certain instructional materials because substantial public resources have been used in their creation and production or because a faculty member contracted with the University specifically to develop the materials. An example of this would be a written agreement between the University and the faculty member with the specific, stated intention that a videotaped lecture series with published course outline and bibliography would be produced at University expense.

These guidelines do not assert a University property interest in materials, which result from the activities of faculty members in the pursuit of their traditional teaching, research, and scholarly activities. These materials, including theses, scholarly articles, journal articles, research bulletins, monographs, and books are implicit in the faculty member's role as a faculty member and should be contrasted with materials produced pursuant to an explicit agreement where the faculty member acts under contractual arrangements to produce copyrightable materials.

Resolution of the interests of the University and of the faculty member must be on a case-by-case basis, applying the principles and considerations of these guidelines.

The following types of material are among those, which may now, or in the near future, be subject to copyright:

  • Books, texts, glossaries, bibliographies, study guides, laboratory manuals, syllabi, tests, etc.
  • Lectures, musical or dramatic compositions and unpublished scripts
  • Films, filmstrips, charts, transparencies, and other visual aids
  • Video and audio broadcasts
  • Programmed instructional materials
  • Computer programs
  • Other materials

These materials may be produced or developed by the faculty and staff under varying circumstances:

  1. No University support or involvement;
  2. Minimal University support and involvement (such as the use of laboratories and/or equipment), but with no release time(i.e., from assigned University duties);
  3. Substantial University support and involvement and/or release time with the expectation that copyrightable instructional materials will result;
  4. "Work-for-hire" or as an assigned duty;
  5. Direct support from an extramural sponsor.

It is policy of the University that copyrightable materials produced as stated in (1) and (2) above belong solely to the author(s), artist(s), or other creator(s).

In situations where the interested parties expect copyrightable materials to evolve, the creation of a written agreement shall be considered. In the absence of a written agreeement, the rights to scholarly, research or instructional materials are assumed to lie with the author(s), artist(s), or other creator(s). Materials produced with substantial university support or during released time {as in (3) above}shall be the subject of a written understanding or agreement between the author(s), artist(s), or other creator(s), and the Chancellor is designee, the equitably determines copyright and ownership rights. If the University chooses not to copyright materials to which it has a right, the faculty member(s) may do so in his/her own name if he/she wishes. This latter situation will apply to the vast majority of regular scholarly and research publications of the academic staff, which are part of their normal academic activities.

When production of copyrightable materials is a primary purpose of employment, a written "work-for-hire" agreement shall be executed. Fair payment shall be made to the creator(s), for which the University shall receive all right to the material and receive all royalties and fees. When such materials are produced as an assigned duty, the University shall own all right and receive all royalties and fees, except where a contrary agreement has been reached between the creator(s) and his/her administrative head.

When copyrightable materials are produced with extramural support, as stated in (5) above, the agreement with the extramural sponsor shall determine the copyright and ownership rights of the parties. Additional guidelines on specific types materials will be issued by Central Administration of the UW System is needed.

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Contact Information

Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP)

5th Floor Pioneer Tower
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818-3099

Tel: 608.342.1456
E-mail: orsp@uwplatt.edu
Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F

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