- Research & Course Help
Copyright Ownership: Faculty and EPA Non-Faculty Employees
Step One: Who Owns My Work?
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Copyright Policy provides four categories of works created by faculty and EPA Non-Faculty employees? Copyright ownership of the work is based on the work's category as explained below.
Determine the Category of Work
As explained in the Academic Exception to the Work For Hire Section, universities have traditionally not claimed copyright to the works created by faculty and EPA authors, even though those works may appear to have been created pursuant to their jobs. UNC-Charlotte, as part of the UNC system, does not claim copyright to this category of works. Such works are those historically created by faculty and are defined as pedagogical, scholarly, literary or aesthetic works resulting from non-directed effort.
Creator/author holds copyright; University holds a perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license to use the work for the University's own non-commercial research or [tip: educational=use in UNCC course for credit, including derivative work right] use. The original or a derivative work will credit the creator as author unless the creator requests not, via timely written notice to the Chancellor.
If the same type of works described above in No.1 are created with [tip: exceptional=resources of a degree of nature not routinely made available in a given unit] resources provided by the University, copyright ownership of the work(s) rests with the University.
How do you know if your use of resources is exceptional? Unlike many of the system universities, which attempt to give their faculty some examples as guidance, knowing whether the exceptional use line has been crossed is extraordinarily easy at UNC-Charlotte. The Copyright Policy (§V.A.(2)(a) provides that use of University resources is presumed not exceptional "unless a department chair or director of an administrative unit informs the faculty member in writing before such resources are allocated that such use is exceptional." This should eliminate the guesswork and provides an elegant solution to what has become a thorny problem at other system institutions.
University holds copyright; Options available to release copyright ownership back to creator.
A directed work is one that is "specifically funded or created at the direction of the University." Once again, the UNC-Charlotte Copyright Policy §V.A.3(a) has taken the uncertainty about whether or not a work you (faculty, EPA non-faculty, or student) create is going to be considered a "directed work". It does so by requiring that you must be informed, in advance, in writing by the department head or administrative unit head that what you are doing is going to be considered a directed work. No surprises down the road. Any funding supplied in support of the creation of the work does not even have to be "exceptional".
Additionally, at UNC-Charlotte, as well as some other system institutions, there is a provision in the Copyright Policy allowing an institute, center, department, or any other unit, with the approval of the Chancellor, to adopt a rule declaring anything created by said unit's faculty, staff, or student to belong to the University. Adoption of such a rule by a unit would obviate the need to inform someone, in advance, in writing, etc. that their work(s) were going to be owned by the University.
Such a rule was adopted at NC State University some years ago for their Cooperative Extension Unit to address the logistical problems that this unit would face if extension booklets or informational consumer material belonged to multiple contributors over multiple years rather than the University. The usefulness of such a rule is readily apparent in certain circumstances, but, on the other hand, walks a fine line presented by the dangers of overbroad interpretation and implementation. It is highly recommended that faculty and non-faculty EPA know or find out whether or not their unit or department, etc. has adopted such a rule.
University holds copyright; Where[tip: practical=In estimation of creator's chair; subject to any necessary further terms mandated by Licensing Agreements] creator may be given a perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license to the work for the creator's own non-commercial educational or research use.
Works in this category are those "developed using funds supplied under a contract, grant, or other arrangement between the University and a third party, including a sponsored research agreement."
Copyright ownership of these works rests with the creator, unless the agreement states otherwise. If the agreement requires ownership by the University or conveyance of copyright to a third party, the University will comply. In such cases, the creator of the work must disclose the work to the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), using their forms. If the proposed research agreement or grant requires UNC-Charlotte ownership of works developed pursuant to the grant, the Office of Research Services will inform the PI and secure consent before the agreement is signed or grant accepted.
As in No. 1, above, in the event the creator holds copyright, the University will be deemed to have a perpetual, non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free license to use the work for the University's own non-commercial [tip: educational=Use for regular academic course credit at UNCC] or research use, including the right to make a derivative work.