IP Policies and Guidelines: Software
University created software plays a significant role in the design of our disclosure guidelines for copyrighted works that must be assigned to PSU.
IIP recognizes that considerable amount of code is written with research funding. As such the employee creators of that code have an obligation to both disclose the code to IIP and to assign the copyright to the code to PSU. This is also true for code written as a work assignment or developed with significant university resources (see copyright ownership guidelines). However, IIP also recognizes that it is common practice for the software tools developed under many research projects to be released under appropriate licenses to the public by faculty and research teams, and that this practice is often an expectation of the wider research community in their field. We believe that in most instances this practice is likely the best mode to promote use and increase impact of software innovations.
As is the case with other copyrighted works, as long as researchers release university-owned software tools for no monetary compensation and with the appropriate label (© Portland State University), IIP will consider the obligations of the policy met.
One assumption that we make for the above guideline is that most university researchers who are developing software tools are familiar with the various licenses under which software tools may be publicly released (typically some variation of an Open Source license), and that they will use the appropriate license based in part on how they may have obtained pieces of the code. IIP is always available as a resource to help sort through these issues, and we plan to have resources and preferred suggested licenses available on future versions of the IIP website.
We are also currently working with many parties within the university to investigate cataloging and tracking the release of such software in a way that provides value to the university and faculty, both for record retention and for measuring and promoting the impact of PSU software innovations.
Of course, any software tool or code that should be assigned to PSU and that is or will be released in exchange for monetary compensation, under a commercial license or otherwise, must be disclosed to IIP, and we will work with the faculty and research group to release it in a way that meets the project goals.