Distance Learning Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the
Academic Services Committee

Revised Minutes of November 6, 2001



Members Present: Fred Allvine (Mgt), Ron Bohlander, Chair (GTRI), Joe Boland (Distance Learning), Yolonda Cameron (Legal), Monty Hayes (ECE), TyAnna Herrington (LCC), Claudia Huff (GTRI), Richard Meyer (Library), Tom Pilsch (Computing)


Members Absent: Steven Danyluk (ME), Jilda Garton (GTRC & OTL), Bill Holm (GTRI), Hans Klein (Pub.Pol.), Andy Smith (Psych.), Craig Zimring (Arch.)


Guests: Bob McMath (Chair of the Faculty Issues Subcommittee of the Continuing and Technology-Enhanced Education Task Force)



1.       Ron Bohlander, Chair, called this 2nd meeting of the subcommittee to order at 4:05 p.m. in CRB 238.

2.       After introductions around the table, Ron Bohlander explained this meeting was the first step in a four phase process:  1) understanding the legal boundaries to policy, 2) Understanding what other universities are doing in this policy area, 3) understanding what each of the stakeholders need to have preserved and protected in policy, and 4) devising a policy that meets all the essential needs.

3.       TyAnna Herrington then made a presentation (with handouts) on a great many aspects of copyright law and how it applies to faculty and other university stakeholders.  Some of the conclusions from this were:

·         Law defines who an author is.  Copyright belongs to author(s) unless the expression was a work for hire.

·         The law defines criteria for a work for hire, and under work for hire, the author is the employer.  But faculty members are not necessarily considered to be doing a work for hire in preparing course materials.  There is tradition and precedence for this.  The 1906 Copyright law had an explicit faculty exception; the 1976 law was silent on the subject.  It helps for a policy to clarify the interpretation in use.

·         It helps for a policy to say:
- If the faculty own a copyright, then this process is followed, or
- If the university owns the copyright, then this other process is followed.

·         Regardless of who starts out owning a copyright, it can be assigned to an organization.

·         A university “stamp” on course materials might be used as evidence of ownership.

4.       Yolonda Cameron contributed a number of thoughts:

·         She recently attended ”The Digital University Comes of Age” Conference, sponsored by the Natl. Assn. of Coll. & Univ. Attorneys, Oct. 31- Nov. 2.  She found that most universities assert ownership of patents but generally not copyrights.

·         She reminded the committee that current Board of Regents policy and GIT policy do assert the university’s right to copyrights on all faculty creations.  The committee discussed how this is not always followed in practice, how in many instances it is though, and how this is helpful both the faculty as well as to the university.

·         She also provided us with a copy of GIT’s standard employment agreement.

5.       Joe Boland suggested that while it is probably necessary for the subcommittee to have an overview of the intricacies of copyright law, it is not our charge to recommend an all-inclusive policy that will decide ownership of copyright in all possible scenarios, which are numerous.  The committee's charge is to recommend a policy which sets up a procedure for judging ownership, and then to set policy for protecting the rights of faculty and staff and the university in each possible case of ownership.  He further suggested that a small committee could be established to help resolve questions of ownership.  The policy for sharing in the benefits of each work should include incentives for each party to participate, while taking into consideration ownership, effort by each party, risks, etc.

6.       Discussion then focused on when to meet next.  The consensus was that Richard Meyer could be ready to lead us through step 2 (per the above) as soon as the week of Dec. 3.  Ron Bohlander will canvas the members for a good time.

7.       The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.




Respectfully submitted,

Ron Bohlander, Chair
Rrevised on November 16, 2001