From: Anthony Watkinson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 08:52:36 +0100
There is a major UK university which over a decade ago changed their
contracts with staff so that anyone taking a university position had to
agree that the university could claim copyright on anything written not just
in university time or as part of their university work but also on any
computer owned or maintained by the university. They have never enforced
As any former academic knows the maintenance of (home) computers is a real
perk for academics.
From: Sandy Thatcher <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 18:54:08 -0500
If it is a "specially commissioned" work within one of the enumerated
classes, then the parties have to agree in writing in advance of the work's
preparation that it should be considered "work made for hire."
No such agreement is needed if the work is produced by an employee "within
the scope of employment"; the work is automatically a work made for hire if
an employment relationship is found to exist. Faculty can go to court to
challenge a university claiming to be an employer for this purpose, but they
can't change the status of their work by contract if the court decides that
the faculty member is an employee in this regard.
> From: Sean Andrews <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:54:50 -0500
> This same topic came up last week in relation to the former head of
> the AAUP, Carey Nelson:
>> Mr. Nelson characterized the debate at colleges over who owns the rights
to faculty members' MOOCs as part of a broader battle over intellectual
property that's being waged on America's campuses. At stake, he said, is not
just the ability of faculty members to profit from their own writings or
inventions, but the future of their profession.
>> "If we lose the battle over intellectual property, it's over," Mr.
Nelson warned. "Being a professor will no longer be a professional career or
a professional identity," and faculty members will instead essentially find
themselves working in "a service industry," he said.
> There was a very vocal fellow in the comment section who made the case
> (over and over again) that if faculty produce a work in the course of
> their employment, it should be classified as a work for hire. I know
> there is some debate about this in relation to patents, but it seems
> MOOCs would be an emergent front in this battle. I know of at least
> one professor who was booted from the class he designed and was
> teaching - I think it was at UC Irvine. But in that case, one of the
> complaints students had was that he was using his $70 textbook for the
> class. So at least he had SOME royalties still coming to him.
> In any case, it seems like a faculty member could stipulate in their
> contract (as they created said MOOC) that they should own the
> copyright to the work. It is a brave new world and most faculty are
> doing MOOCs with strange new arrangements. Cathy Davidson had a blog
> post a few weeks ago saying that she didn't even get any course
> release time for putting together her MOOC - nor did she get paid
> directly, if I understood her correctly. Instead, they just gave some
> more funding to HASTAC. It's quite possible she could make this
> demand (to keep her copyright to the course) as part of her contract.
> Or is this misunderstanding how work for hire works?
> Sean Johnson Andrews
> [log in to unmask]
> Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies Columbia College, Chicago
> 2011-2013 ACLS Public Fellow
> Director of Shared Libraries
> The National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education