University Policy on Copyrights

Except as specifically exempted by University policy, faculty, staff, and students are entitled to claim copyright ownership, including worldwide rights, of the following works authored by them: books, articles, educational coursework, similar works that are intended to disseminate the results of academic research or scholarly study, popular fiction or nonfiction works, poems, musical compositions, or other works of artistic imagination. The University has no proprietary interest in copyrightable materials produced by faculty, staff, or students under contract with entities external to the University (in which the faculty, staff, or students have no controlling majority interest), except as specifically exempted by policy.

Copyrightable works that have been produced by University faculty, staff, or students who have been specifically directed to produce those works in the course of their employment, or who produce those works under the supervision and control of the University are "works made for hire." The copyright interests in such works automatically vest in the University.

Where the University has an ownership interest in a work, the standard royalty sharing arrangement will be as follows:

  1. Where the work is a "work for hire," there is generally no royalty-sharing arrangement unless there is a special agreement, in which case distribution of income will be made.
  2. Where there is an agreement between the University and any non-University individual or entity, or a shared-royalty agreement regarding works created using University resources, distribution of income will be made according to the agreement.
  3. Where there is no such agreement as referenced above, first income will reimburse University development funds (excluding grants, gifts, and sponsored agreements) and other expenses or fees related to the procurement, maintenance, or enforcement of the copyright or of licensing the work.

The balance of the proceeds from royalties or disposition will be distributed as follows:

  1. 50% to the creator(s) or developer(s).
  2. 25% to the department or school of the creator/developer for use in furthering the work of the creator/developer at his/her discretion with the approval of the department administrator; or for purposes at the discretion of the department administrator, if the creator/developer is no longer an active member of the faculty or staff, or a student at the University.
  3. 25% to the University Copyright Development Fund, to provide for development of works that may be copyrightable, under direction of the Office of the Provost.

In the event that the employee entitled to compensation under this policy leaves the University, voluntarily or involuntarily, the employee will continue to receive payments, but will not be entitled directly or indirectly to continue to receive or transfer any other rights or benefits from the proceeds distributed to the department or school.

In the event of the death of an employee entitled to compensation under this policy, payments will continue to be paid to the employee's estate and subsequently to those who, by a court-approved distribution or order, are designated to receive such compensation or payments.

For more complete information, including such matters as other copyrightable materials and procedures for asserting copyright interest and copyright registration, refer to University Policy Copyrights RI 03 (formerly 11-02-02).