Schools that allow faculty to retain IP rights over online materials?
December 9, 2014 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Are you aware of any schools or universities that allow faculty to retain intellectual property rights to their course materials that are used online, and perhaps also receive royalties from the school for its use, above and beyond a normal faculty contract?

It seems that with the proliferation of online courses, the typical model has been to subsume the online presence of faculty under the broad ownership of the school, which would include determining licensing rights to other outside sources, regardless of faculty input. Are there any healthy online models that allow faculty to retain the rights to their likeness and material, and also have a say in how that coursework is disseminated more broadly beyond the school, and to also share in any royalties from its use? I'm interested in specific schools who may currently have adopted this model, and especially if they use it as any sort of incentive to encourage faculty recruiting or growth.
posted by SpacemanStix to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: AFAIK, faculty at UCLA (and, I imagine, the other UCs) do retain IP rights unless exceptional university resources are used in the course:

"Under the UC Policy on Ownership of Course Materials(2), ownership of the rights to course materials created by Designated Instructional Appointees (DIA) without the use of Exceptional University Resources are owned by the DIA unless otherwise indicated in a Commissioned Work Agreement. In accordance with this policy, where instruction is held in the classroom or in some cases in the field and technology is limited, intellectual property ownership will be owned by the creator."

I know the Faculty Senate was reviewing that policy recently, though, but can't find anything more current than that.

No idea if that's a recruiting point for faculty; I am but lowly staff here at Saltmine U.
posted by culfinglin at 4:03 PM on December 9, 2014

Best answer: Yes, my committee just put together the material for retention of all IP rights for faculty, including adjunct. We have implemented a payment system for modality changes and retention of that IP, as well. We are in process of developing a site to show the pathways of development and considerations of faculty IP.
posted by jadepearl at 4:09 PM on December 9, 2014

Best answer: I'm at a school where there is a sensible royalty system for materials generated for online classes. I suspect the school thinks of these materials as the online version of textbooks --- just because a professor writes a textbook, a school wouldn't expect to use it forever for free.
posted by eisenkr at 6:58 PM on December 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts, anyone. Without wanting to violate anyone's privacy, I would be really interested in seeing some schools that have publicly documented this sort of policy.

culfinglin, do you know how UCLA's policy would apply to online courses? That's usually where it gets kind of tricky, and sometimes gets forced under some sort of "commissioned work" understanding.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:08 PM on December 10, 2014

That first link is from the faculty senate task force on online education and course development. If you read through the PDF, that proposed draft is reasonably detailed. Where it's at in the approval process, however, I'm not sure. If you have more specific questions, I'd get in touch with the workforce chair listed on the draft, or senior campus counsel (also listed on the draft).
posted by culfinglin at 9:10 AM on January 6, 2015

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