Friday, June 13, 2014

Who owns the material you prepare for courses (including digital)?

According to UC (and therefore UCLA) policy, you own such materials including digital.  But there are two catches:

1) Exceptional University Resources.University Resources (including but not limited to University Facilities and University Funds...) significantly in excess of the usual support generally available to similarly situated faculty members. Customary secretarial support, library facilities, office space, personal computers, access to computers and networks, and academic year salary are not considered exceptional university resources.

Where there are exceptional resources as above, some kind of formal agreement is expected that divides any revenue produced between the creator and the university.

Specifically: Ownership of the rights to Course Materials created, in whole or in part, by Designated Instructional Appointees with the use of Exceptional University Resources shall be governed by a written agreement entered into between the Originator(s) and the University. The agreement shall specify how rights will be owned and controlled and how any revenues will be divided if the materials are commercialized.

Ownership of the rights to Course Materials, including copyright, shall reside with the Designated Instructional Appointee who creates them.  However, the University retains a fully paid - up, royalty - free, perpetual, and non-exclusive worldwide license to any Course Approval Documents for the purpose of continuing to teach the course of instruction for which the documents were prepared, with the non-exclusive right to revise and update them as required for this purpose.

So what the policy seems to be is that you own what you create for a course unless exceptional university resources go into creation in which case some kind of deal has to be negotiated dividing the pie.  Even where you have 100% ownership (no exceptional resources), the university has the right to use or modify the materials to continue the course.

The actual policy is at

In short, with certain exceptions, there are things they can't take away from you:


Michael Meranze said...

I think you have misread this slightly. I believe that you are conflating "course approval documents" with "course materials." It is the former (i assume what goes onto a CIMS form for instance) that they retain the right to reuse.

Michael Meranze said...

Ps. Of course you are right about the ambiguities of exceptional support and online courses.