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

David M.Berry d.berry at sussex.ac.uk
Fri Apr 29 04:42:40 EDT 2005


Here is the IP department's reply to my enquiry (they are a wholly 
owned by Sussex limited company):

>
> We are always seeking to raise awareness of the service that we, as a 
> company, provide, as well as general IPR information, though as I'm 
> sure you can appreciate commercial application of Intellectual 
> Property Rights, as well as our objective to raise funds for the 
> University run somewhat against the nature of academic research.

An interesting confession. But after a long conversation it seems that 
the University *chooses* to not implement the policy of asserting 
copyright at this time. For now it only sees patents as revenue 
generators but should copyright become a projected revenue stream then 
potentially this could change. Digital Rights Management anyone?

In answer to your question, technically yes you have to seek your 
department head's permission to transfer copyright (referring to the IP 
dept. if there are questions). Also as a PhD student I am currently 
trying to discover who owns my thesis as the IP department claim 
copyright on rather shaky grounds... I wanted to release it CC when it 
is finished but clearly until this is resolved it is tricky to do so...

Cheers

David



On 29 Apr 2005, at 09:34, Hector MacQueen wrote:

> 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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