Copyright definition: Your unique expression fixed in tangible form. Specifically, work (the thing that represents the copyright) which resulted from your use of the tool/media that created it, whether physically or electronically stored, such as:


  • Pen to paper
  • Fingers to keyboard
  • Eye to camera (videographer as author)
  • Paintbrush to canvas
  • Audio recordings

Innovation & Intellectual Property’s Goal: to promote the use and increase the impact of your work!

Who owns the work?: PSU does not generally seek ownership in curriculum or scholarly work unless those works are being commercialized for personal profit. In many cases, the publishers of books, journals, or otherwise own the works. It depends on the agreements that are made and the contracts that are signed.

There are guidelines, such as Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) state that copyrightable works will be owned by PSU as a condition of employment by meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • The work was developed with institutional support in the form of significant resources (personnel time, facilities, or other).
  • The work was developed using funds (grant awards) managed by PSU (sponsored projects).
  • The work was developed as a part of a specific work assignment given by a supervisor or identified in a contractual provision (such as an employee’s employment agreement).

Innovation and Intellectual Property can help you find out if any of these apply and help you determine what options are available for licensing your work.

Copyright agreement

Why License Copyright?

Reason: To protect the work, which gives you and PSU control over how it’s used, and potential for revenue to fund updates and cover overhead and program costs. This means that you can use license agreements to make sure that anyone who uses, displays, or incorporates your work does so within your intended guidelines.

Copyright law grants you several exclusive rights to control the use and distribution of your copyrighted works. This includes granting or denying others the right to:

  1. reproduce (i.e., make copies of) the work;
  2. create derivative works based on the work (i.e., to alter, remix, or build upon the work);
  3. distribute copies of the work;
  4. publicly display the work;
  5. perform the work; and
  6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission.

Sometimes a license to use a copyrighted work is given for free, but more often that license comes with a fee. Why? Cost = perception of value. The work is significant and addresses needs that are not adequately met by current offerings. Thus, it is more than a free resource and will be perceived as such if available for a fee. A fee will often increase partner commitment and use as they will need to justify the cost and be more incentivized to use the material and if making derivative works will do so at a higher quality. A fee also legitimizes the material via value perception. Increasing the legitimacy of the material will increase demand, which will promote the use and increase impact.

How to work with Innovation & Intellectual Property?

  • Get in touch with us.
  • Disclose your work.
  • Collaborate with IIP to find partners for licensing.

It’s easy to disclose: You can get Inventor Portal access by visiting IIP's Inventor Portal.

Then what?: IIP will be in touch to determine with you what are the next steps for licensing.

Please contact IIP for assistance or questions.

Ash Alexander
Non-Exclusive Licensing Program Administrator