“Who Owns What?”
Before beginning any work it is up to the author or creator to determine who will be the copyright owner and have the right to give permission to use or adapt works. The University of Texas System’s “Who Owns What” shows how different people can be considered owners of parts of a project or product. It is essential to have signed contracts assigning copyright before a project begins. (See sample contract)
- Why does the UWEX Cooperative Extension assert copyright?
- What’s the UW System policy on copyrighting materials?
- How is UWEX Cooperative Extension ownership assigned?
- What copyright statement should I use?
- What if it’s a joint Cooperative Extension/outside agency-funded project?
- How does Cooperative Extension revise or withdraw a work?
- What happens if the author is no longer with Cooperative Extension?
- Will I get paid for the work I create?
As a division of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension is directly involved in the development of copyrightable instructional materials. Except for press releases, published works including publications and all forms of media require significant resources to create and are copyrighted by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. These works are not in the public domain. Our goal is to provide unbiased information and to make that information as widely available as possible.
We need to assert our ownership of copyright for the materials we create, just as we respect others’ rights to copyright their works. See the University of Texas System’s web site for why we need to manage these assets.
According to UW System Administrative Policy 191 (formerly G27), Copyrightable Instruction Materials Ownership, Use and Control (Rev. 11/24/97), based on U.S. Copyright Law, “the UW System does not assert a property interest in materials which result from the author’s pursuit of traditional teaching, research, and scholarly activities.” Traditional activities include the creation of theses, scholarly articles, journal articles, research bulletins, monographs and books. However, the UW System may have an interest in instructional materials that are created with “substantial institutional resources,” such as financial, technical, personnel or other forms of support beyond the type of resources provided to other faculty in similar situations. In these circumstances, the institution and the author should negotiate an agreement defining copyright and ownership rights.
Copyrightable instructional materials created with substantial Cooperative Extension involvement or support require an agreement between you and Cooperative Extension before the work begins clearly defining copyright and ownership rights of the work. (See III.“Contractual Guidelines” for further information.) This includes works created by faculty, staff, and students.
Works created as part of your assigned duties are copyrighted by the University of Wisconsin System. If you hire an individual either to create or to work on a portion of copyrightable instructional materials, a “Work for Hire” agreement must be signed. Joint ownership allows us to use, adapt, and give permission. (See sample “Work for Hire” agreement.)
The lead author/creator on a project is responsible for content and structure of the project. This individual also is responsible for obtaining copyright permissions of materials from other copyright owners, and release of rights agreements from project participants. An example of a letter sent to a publisher requesting permission to use their copyrighted material is attached.
Copyright © [DATE] Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System doing business as the division of Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Extension. All Rights Reserved.
Outside agencies that provide funding for a project may have specific requirements concerning copyright that need to be taken into consideration on an individual basis when assigning copyright. Each outside agency’s requirements differ, and we do our best to accommodate their requests. Contact Pamela DeVore firstname.lastname@example.org before signing contracts so UW-Extension Cooperative Extension’s sole or joint ownership rights can be negotiated as part of the agreement. According to SYS 191, #II.C.(5), “When copyrightable instructional materials are produced with extramural support, as under I.B.5. of this policy paper, the agreement with the extramural sponsor shall be considered in determining the copyright and ownership rights of the parties.”
According to SYS 191, #III.D, all instructional materials must receive a “timely and periodic review.”
The author will be consulted before altering or revising any and all Cooperative Extension copyrighted materials. This includes considering alternative uses of the original work.
Although the author may decline to revise the work, Cooperative Extension may continue to use or authorize the use of the materials by others. Should this occur, the work is not to be presented as the author’s except for his or her participation in the original work.
If the author chooses not to assume responsibility for revising the instructional materials, the chancellor or his designee (Program Leader) will assign an appropriate replacement.
UWEX Cooperative Extension retains the right to internal use of instructional materials for up to four years after an author leaves the University. We recommend that you renegotiate your contract with UWEX Cooperative Extension by contacting the Publishing Manager before you leave. email@example.com
At this writing, Cooperative Extension Publishing does not pay authors.