Search Google Appliance


IP Policies and Guidelines: Copyright

Overview | Simple Chart | Ownership | Publications | Disclosure | Licensing

Overview

For the following, we define a copyright as any unique expression fixed in tangible form (see our IP Primer for more on copyrights).  The IMD and OAR relate primarily to “educational and professional materials”, and IMD 6.210 states that the policy applies to those that are used or distributed primarily for the formal or informal instruction of education of professional or general students, or materials that result from the instructional, research, or public service activities of an employee.    

The Portland State University Library has a Copyright Policy that addresses fair use, getting permissions to use other’s copyright works, and your rights to scholarly works and copyright considerations around publishing them. This policy and guideline addresses when employees are obligated to assign and disclose their copyright works to PSU.

IMD 6.210 includes the following as examples: “writings, lectures, study guides, books, textbooks, journal articles, glossaries, laboratory manuals, proposals, musical or dramatic compositions, listings, tables, charts, graphs, figures, manuals, codes, software, unpublished manuscripts, programmed instructional materials, video and audio recordings, live video and audio broadcasts, cassettes, tapes, films, filmstrips, slides, transparencies, other reproductions and visual aids, computer programs, and computer assisted courseware.”

In practice, we mean educational and professional materials to mean any copyrighted material produced while engaged in university activities or using significant university resources.

Our guidelines are:

At PSU, employee authors will NOT be required to assign copyright of their works to PSU unless:

  • The works were developed with institution support in the form of significant (more than incidental and more than minimal) institutional personnel time, facilitates, or other resources;
  • The works were developed using sponsored effort in the form of funds administered or controlled by PSU; or
  • The works were developed as a part of a specific work assignment given by a supervisor, or the works were specifically identified in a contractual provision, such as an employee’s employment agreement.

PSU exempts material published in scholarly or professional journals without monetary compensation from any requirement to assign copyrights to PSU.

PSU employees have a responsibility to properly mark with “© Portland State University” any copyrighted works that they create which should be assigned to PSU but which will not be licensed to third parties for monetary compensation.  

PSU employees have a responsibility to disclose to IIP any copyright works that they create which should be assigned to PSU and which may be licensed to third parties for monetary compensation.

>back to top

Ownership

The OAR and IMD include a lot of text about copyright ownership, and the IMD lists many specific inclusions and exclusions.  The guidelines immediately below encompass all the inclusions and exclusions in the policies, although for clarity we have listed and explained them below. Also for the sake of clarity, a work “required to be assigned to PSU” is another way of saying that a work will be owned by PSU.     

At PSU, employee authors will NOT be required to assign copyright of their works to PSU unless:

  • The works were developed with institution support in the form of significant (more than incidental and more than minimal) institutional personnel time, facilitates, or other resources;
  • The works were developed using sponsored effort in the form of funds administered or controlled by PSU; or
  • The works were developed as a part of a specific work assignment given by a supervisor, or the works were specifically identified in a contractual provision, such as an employee’s employment agreement.

As discussed in more detail below, works developed without funding and not as a specific work assignment, but with minimal use of PSU resources, are not required to be assigned to PSU, but PSU may require their disclosure and require reimbursement for the institutional resources used if the material is subsequently licensed or assigned for compensation (IMD 6.255).

Assignment requirement

OAR 580-43-0011 states that as a condition of employment, all employees shall agree to assign to the institution their rights in educational and professional materials which result from instructional, research, or public service activities of the institution.

IMD 6.215 states that the Board reserves ownership rights to educational and professional materials developed with institutional resources. Board and institution assisted effort is defined in IMD 6.210 as effort which involves institution support in the form of significant personnel time, facilitates, or other resources. IMD 6.215 further states that funds and facilities provided by external partners but administered and controlled by the institution shall be considered funds and facilities provided by the institution.

The IMD provides greater detail than the OAR regarding the educational and professional materials that are required to be assigned to the university. Because it would be impractical to require disclosure of and assert university ownership over ALL educational and professional materials produced at PSU, the university asserts copyright ownership over only those materials that fall within the parameters defined by IMD 6.2.

Specific inclusions

In addition to materials “developed with institutional resources”, IMD 6.215 states that educational and professional 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. These materials are to be owned by PSU.

IMD 6.255 also specifically includes materials which were developed with significant institution-assisted effort, and materials developed under sponsored assignments. These materials are to be owned by PSU.

Specific exclusions

IMD 6.215 specifically excludes 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. These materials are to be owned by their authors or creators.

IMD 6.215 also explicitly excludes books, musical or dramatic composition, architectural designs, paintings, sculptures, or other works of comparable type, UNLESS these were developed under contractual provisions, with significant institutional resources, or as a specific work assignment, HOWEVER with regard to the last condition, an academic staff person's general obligation to produce scholarly works does not constitute such a specific institution assignment. These materials are to be owned by their authors or creators.

IMD 6.255 also specifically excludes materials which were developed with no institutional effort, and materials developed with minimal institutional effort, although for those developed with some - albeit minimal - institutional effort the author may be required to reimburse the institution for cost of the institutional effort out of any revenue received from the author’s licensing or assignment of such materials. These materials are to be owned by their authors or creators.

>back to top

Publications

PSU exempts material published in scholarly or professional journals without monetary compensation from any requirement to assign copyrights to PSU.

IMD 6.215 states clearly that 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 PSU.  

This leaves open the possibility of scholarly works that are obligated to be assigned to PSU because of the guidelines above. However, IMD 6.215 also states that the institution’s reservation of ownership rights does not preclude an employee from granting copyright privileges to the publisher of a scholarly or professional journal when no compensation or royalty is involved. Most journals require and receive copyright assignments or licenses directly from the authors. Because it would be impractical to sort out, university-wide, which journal manuscript submissions should be first assigned to PSU before they are assigned to the journal, PSU exempts all works which need to be assigned to a journal (without monetary compensation) in order to be published from any competing requirement to first assign copyrights to PSU.

>back to top

Disclosure

The OAR states that as a condition of employment all employees are responsible for disclosing to the Board (through IIP) all educational and professional materials made during the conduct of normal activities (580-43-0011), and the IMD implies that employees and other persons who conceive or develop copyright materials while engaged in activities utilizing institutional resources shall report such findings to the institutional official (6.225).

These disclosure requirements for copyright materials sound all-encompassing, and might be overwhelming when one considers that in practice all of us are creating copyright materials all the time (every time we fix a new and unique expression in tangible form). The disclosure requirements are further complicated by the “made during the course of normal activities” and “while engaged in activities utilizing institutional resources” conditions, which we interpret as materials that should be owned by PSU. Not all educational and professional materials will be owned by PSU (see ownership section above), and even for those that should be, it would be impractical to have all of them disclosed. Therefore, PSU provides the following practical guidelines for what must be disclosed and what doesn’t necessarily need to be disclosed to IIP.

PSU employees have a responsibility to properly mark with “© Portland State University” any copyrighted works that they create which should be assigned to PSU but which will not be licensed to third parties for monetary compensation.

In cases where copyrighted materials should be university owned but for which there are no rights licensed or that will be licensed to third parties in exchange for no compensation, IIP will consider proper attribution on the work (© Portland State University) rather than physical disclosure to IIP to be sufficient to fulfill any disclosure requirement. Support for this approach can be found in IMD 6.215, which states that the university’s reservation of ownership does not preclude an employee from granting copyright privileges to journals when no compensation in involved. For practical purposes we are extending this idea 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 (see course materials section, below).  In essence, PSU is allowing the authors of these works to decide on how they would like to grant PSU’s copyrights to third parties (and not requiring that you tell us about it) as long as there is no money involved and as long as the proper name is used.

Although not required, these materials may still be disclosed to IIP, and IIP remains a resource to faculty and research projects to discuss the licensing and management of these copyright materials.

PSU employees have a responsibility to disclose to IIP any copyright works that they create which should be assigned to PSU and which may be licensed to third parties for monetary compensation.

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, PSU requires disclosure to IIP per the requirements of the OAR and IMD.  Typically the works owned by PSU will have used significant university resources, will have been developed with funding administered by PSU, or will have been directed by a supervisor.  As such this guideline requires disclosure of this category of copyright material in order for IIP to fulfill our policy responsibility (IMD 6.235) to maximize public, Board, institution, and author benefits when seeking licenses and publishing agreements, and in general to act as good stewards of university assets.

If there is any question about whether or not a copyright work must be disclosed, we encourage you to discuss your project with IIP.

>back to top

Licensing

IIP will endeavor to license copyrights in counsel with the authors and with the best interests of the innovation and the goals of the project in mind. See the copyright licensing section of the IP Primer for further detail.

As a consequence of our guidelines on copyright disclosure, there will be PSU-owned copyright works where the authors will have control over the grant of rights and licensing of the work as long as proper attribution is made. IIP is a resource for these employees to aid in navigating licensing options and structures, and we encourage authors to use the appropriate Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) or Open Source (http://www.opensource.org/) licenses when distributing the work, if these schemes are applicable.

>back to top