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

Hector MacQueen hector.macqueen at ed.ac.uk
Fri Apr 29 04:34:12 EDT 2005


Interesting but actually rather absurd if it is translated into reality.
Does the University in every individual case assign the copyright to the
employee when s/he submits something for publication?  Or is there some
general grant somewhere?  In either case, does Sussex know that
copyright assignments have to be in writing to be eeffective, under CDPA
1988 s 90(3)?  Or are all their employees publishing stuff without any
written assignment in breach of contract?

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: David M. Berry [mailto:d.berry at sussex.ac.uk] 
Sent: 29 April 2005 09:28
To: Hector MacQueen
Cc: bernard at fong-hurley.org.uk; 'Jonathan Mitchell'; 'Creative Commons
UK'
Subject: Re: [Cc-uk] Academics are not free either...



 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.

Cheers

David





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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