Intellectual Property Policy: Instructional Materials and Copyrights

Faculty Copyright

The University recognizes and reaffirms the traditional academic expectation that all faculty (including full-time, part-time, adjunct, and emeritus faculty and clinical staff) own and control instructional materials and scholarly works (including, but not limited to, course outlines, syllabi, lecture notes, other course materials, websites, course materials used to effectuate distance learning, scholarly articles, textbooks, creative works, and unpublished research results) created by their own initiative with the aid of standard and customary University resources. “Standard and customary resources” are those resources commonly provided or made available to similarly situated faculty. They include, for example, support such as office space, library facilities, research assistance, ordinary access to University computers and network facilities, research assistants, secretarial and administrative support staff, and general supplies. In general, for any given department, unit, or individual, what constitutes a standard and customary resource will depend upon the functions and responsibilities of that department, unit, or individual.

University Copyright

Consistent with its legal and fiduciary responsibilities, the University may own particular copyrightable works in the particular instances noted below:

  1. The work was created pursuant to a written agreement with the University, which specifically provides that the University will own the copyright;
  2. The work was developed pursuant to a sponsored research project or other agreement in which the copyright terms are specifically stated or negotiated;
  3. The work was created in the course of an administrative assignment (e.g. a report for a University committee or group);
  4. The work was created as a specific requirement of employment or pursuant to an assigned institutional duty that may, for example, be included in a written job description or an employment agreement so as to qualify as works made for hire. Such works may include those whose creation is instigated or facilitated by a unit of the University for the express purpose of making such works available to individuals or entities other than, or in addition to, the creator(s) for use in teaching, research, public information, or other University activities. However, such works do not include works of scholarship necessary for the attainment of tenure and other scholarship created in the regular course of faculty employment. Moreover, the University does not claim ownership of faculty-created instructional materials or course materials merely because it requires faculty members to teach courses as part of their regular responsibilities; and
  5. The work was created in whole or in part by faculty members with the support of extraordinary resources as specifically authorized by University administrators such as deans, department chairs, unit directors, or their designees. “Extraordinary resources” refer to resources such as financial, technical, personnel, or other forms of support provided by the University which are above and beyond the type or level of resources commonly provided to similarly situated faculty. Extraordinary resources may include, for example, a substantial quantity of media development, significant research assistance, access to or use of special, limited University facilities or resources, and significant input of time and assistance from University IT personnel and facilities. The University may claim ownership of certain intellectual contributions (including, but not limited to, instructional materials, courseware, and online course materials) for which the University has specifically commissioned the particular, identified intellectual contribution and has either invested extraordinary University resources in its production or specifically compensated faculty-creators for its development with additional financial compensation or the like. However, any such claim or assertion of ownership by the University must be initiated by the University and made prior to the investment of such extraordinary resources or additional compensation and clearly codified in a written agreement between the University and the faculty-creator. In the alternative, the University and the faculty-creator may claim joint ownership of the copyright in such intellectual contributions, so long as agreed to in advance of the dissemination of extraordinary resources or additional financial compensation and subsequently codified in a written agreement. In this instance, each would have the right to distribute the materials and receive revenues for any distribution outside the University, subject to an accounting of revenues to the other joint owner. At the minimum, the University retains a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the work as part of the University’s course delivery system and a non-exclusive commercial license to market the course materials outside the University, subject to an accounting of revenues to the faculty member. However, pursuant to written agreements with the creators of such materials, the University may decide to forego or modify its rights to such works, but it must in any event limit its claim of ownership to such works to the period of time necessary for the University to recoup the specific investment(s), monetary or otherwise, it made to warrant its rightful claim of ownership. Under no circumstance may the University make any claim of ownership to any resulting intellectual property without prior notice to the faculty-creator.

Release Time

A full-time faculty member who is responsible for a special project related to copyrightable works may qualify for release time. As such, the faculty member may be released from his or her regularly scheduled assigned duties (e.g. teaching) to work on the project in accordance with related University Policies and upon prior approval from the University.

Staff Copyright

Copyrightable materials created by University staff within the scope of their job responsibilities are considered “work made for hire”. The copyright in such work automatically belongs to the University. However, the University does not claim ownership of materials created by staff members at their own initiative, outside the scope of their employment, and without use of extraordinary University resources.

Student Copyright

The copyright in academic materials, including, but not limited to, dissertations, theses, student projects, term papers, etc., created by students in their capacity as students while at the University belongs to them. This principle is applicable generally, except in the particular instances below:

  1. The work is created in the course of employment at the University; or
  2. The copyright is transferred to the University by written agreement.

Copyrightable Works by Non-Employees/Contractors

Generally, the copyright in materials created for the University by persons other than faculty, staff, or students rests with the University. However, the University’s claim to copyright ownership of such material is subject to a duly executed written agreement between the non-employee and the University.

Web Posting Policy

Posting or providing access to material that violates the copyrights of others is strictly prohibited. No copyrighted materials or links to copyrighted material, including educational materials subject to copyright, may be posted anywhere on the Fordham University Web site, or on personal pages hosted by Fordham University, without the authorization of the copyright owner. Knowingly providing links to websites that contain pirated materials is also prohibited. It is the responsibility of the individual webmasters to both comply and enforce the standards set forth in this guideline.

Approved by Faculty Senate, September 9, 2011