[Cc-uk] Academics are not free either...

David M.Berry d.berry at sussex.ac.uk
Fri Apr 29 04:27:56 EDT 2005

 From the Sussex University Webste:

> Do I own the copyright in my own work?
> The copyright in work produced in the course of University employment 
> is owned by the University. The University's Code of Practice on 
> Intellectual Property, Commercial Exploitation and Financial Benefits 
> states that:
> The University owns the intellectual property in:
> 	i.  	All items whether in paper, electronic or other form created or 
> devised by its staff in the course of their employment. The University 
> may, where it considers appropriate, assign its rights to copyright in 
> paper-based publication (e.g. books, articles in journals, conference 
> presentations) to the member of staff who created them.
> 	ii.  	 All items whether in paper, electronic or other form created 
> or devised by its students of all levels:
> 	a.  	 in the course of their studies or in connection with the work 
> for their degrees or other courses; and/or
> 	b.  	 using University facilities; and/or
> 	c.  	 to which University resources have contributed; and/or
> 	d.  	 by students who are in receipt of a University bursary or 
> studentship;
>  Including, for the avoidance of doubt, all theses and essays, all 
> software and all other creations.

Maybe Sussex is a little harsher than others? Or does it point the way 
to the future? The policy changed in 2004. I am trying to find out the 
previous policy statement.



On 29 Apr 2005, at 09:05, Hector MacQueen wrote:

> I think the position sketched by Jonathan is generally true, although I
> would be very interested to learn of any HE institutions which claim
> copyright in their employees' work.  The general UK understanding for a
> long time rested on a case called Stevenson Jordan & Harrison v
> Macdonald & Evans [1952] 69 RPC 10, which was taken to say that 
> academic
> employees could not be required to write and publish under their
> contracts, so that if they did happen to do so it was NOT in the course
> of their employment and so the employment provision of the copyright
> legislation did not apply.  As RAE began to bite in the 1980s, and
> contracts changed their content, the general understanding began to 
> look
> a bit wobbly; but the Stevenson case has never been further tested in
> court, so far as I know.
> The limited research I have carried out on this subject over the years
> suggests that the copyright work which interests universities is that 
> on
> software, databases and educational material, especially in association
> with electronic and distance learning; and contracts of employment and
> IP policies tend to lay claim to that sort of stuff but exclude books,
> articles etc.
> The most recent further dimension, which is very interesting from a CC
> point of view, is that universities, responding to the high costs of
> academic books and journals, are increasingly interested in creating
> institutional repositories of their staff's work, in pursuit of "open
> access" policies.  In order to do that, academics need to be careful 
> not
> to assign their copyrights to publishers, but to retain them and then
> license both their publisher and their employer to carry out the acts 
> of
> reproduction and publication needed for each to perform its function in
> the dissemination and preservation of material to users.  A possible
> role for CC licences here, especially with regard to licensing your
> employer in an education and research context.  But as a matter of law
> it depends on the authority of the Stevenson case.
> Hector
> ************************
> Hector L MacQueen
> Professor of Private Law
> Director, AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and
> Technology Law
> University of Edinburgh
> Old College
> South Bridge
> Edinburgh EH8 9YL
> UK
> Tel (UK)-(0)131-650-2060
> Fax (UK)-(0)131-650-6317
> Email: hector.macqueen at ed.ac.uk
> Web: http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/
> Distance Learning at the AHRC Centre
> http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrb/distancelearning
> ************************
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Bernard Hurley
> Sent: 29 April 2005 05:37
> To: Jonathan Mitchell
> Cc: Creative Commons UK
> Subject: Re: [Cc-uk] Academics are not free either...
> Jonathan Mitchell wrote:
>> David Berry wrote: "Academics *technically* do not own
>> the copyright to their own work as they are designated as employee's
>> of the University, as I am sure you are all well aware, therefore the
>> employer owns their intellectual property . " Christian Ahlert wrote:
>> "almost all universities, I am aware of, have chosen to put into their
>> employment contracts that they own their employees intellectual work".
>> I am not an academic, but I question whether this corresponds to
>> general UK practice, or whether UK universities generally claim these
>> rights.
>> For example, these are the first six UK university results I found on
>> googling 'academic copyright university contract "intellectual
>> property"' :
>> 1. Liverpool : "the University does not intend to assert ownership of
>> copyright in books, articles, lectures and artistic works, other than
>> those specifically commissioned by the University".
> ......
>> Is there an AUT position on this?
> I have no idea if the AUT has a position on this. However I was 
> involved
> about seven or eight years ago  as a NATFHE rep. in contract
> negotiations with West Herts College (a large FE college). I can't
> remember the exact wording but their position on copyright was more or
> less the same as Liverpool University's position. At the time I was 
> lead
> to believe that this was more or less "standard" in the academic world.
> Bernard
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