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Questions About Copyright Ownership
Although the goal of University Copyright Ownership Policies is to be written clearly enough to enable faculty, staff, and students to determine for themselves what the copyright ownership status of works they create while at the University is, inevitably questions or disagreements arise. Recognizing this, every constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system was charged with including, in its implementation policy, a mechanism for dispute resolution. The resulting dispute resolution mechanisms, not surprisingly, vary widely between institutions, both in terms of formality and success. Much has to do with the underlying relationship between University administration and its faculty as well as the general institutional atmosphere or culture. The most obvious reason dispute resolutions are not more widely employed is probably the general lack of awareness among faculty and staff that there is even a Copyright Ownership Policy at all.
Faculty Copyright Education and Policy Committee
The UNC-Charlotte's Copyright Policy has designed its dispute resolution mechanism by first establishing a Faculty Copyright Education and Policy Committee (§III.A.) This Committee (a standing committee) is to be jointly appointed by the Chancellor and the President of the Faculty. It is charged with serving as a consultative committee to the Chancellor on copyright education and policy and to carry out the following duties:
• Assist in providing resources to and education of faculty, staff, and students about the Fair Use Doctrine and other copyright matters.
• Advise the Chancellor regarding implementation of the UNC-system policy, including proposing amendments to UNC-Charlotte's Copyright Policy as necessary.
Additionally, it appears that it may have the authority to promulgate procedures for the conduct of any copyright dispute resolution hearings. (§VII.B.)
Although this is a standing committee, it appears to be inactive or not currently in existence.
Any UNCC faculty, staff, or student may challenge copyright decisions made pursuant to this policy. Such disputes may include disagreements involving copyright ownership or differences of opinions regarding determinations by department chairs or unit heads as to what constitutes "exceptional use" of resources or what is a "directed work", and so forth.
To initiate the dispute resolution process, you must file a written request for a dispute resolution with the Chancellor. The Chancellor must then authorize the creation of an ad hoc Copyright Dispute Resolution Panel.
• Who is on the Copyright Dispute Resolution Panel?
-Each party involved in the dispute is allowed to select a panel member, who must be a current, full-time UNCC faculty or staff.
-These selected panel members then choose one additional panel member, who will then serve as the chair.
• What happens next?
-The Copyright Dispute Resolution Panel may determine specific procedures to be followed during the investigation and hearing of your case. (assuming no previous procedures have been established by the Faculty Copyright and Education Committee).
-Each party is entitled to submit written materials to the Panel as long as they simultaneously provide the opposing party with a copy of the same materials.
-Any other procedures established by the Panel must be followed.
-Following submission of relevant evidence, a hearing will be conducted. No party is allowed to be represented by legal counsel, but you can bring along an advisor of your choosing. This advisor is only allowed to converse with his/her party; the advisor is not allowed to participate in the proceedings.
• After the oral hearing
Following the oral hearing, the Copyright Dispute Resolution Panel must submit written findings, conclusions, and a recommendation for disposition of the matter to the Chancellor with 45 days of the initial authorization of the panel. The chair of the Panel can request a one-time extension of not more than 30 days for good cause. All parties are provided with copies of the Panel's findings, conclusions, and recommendation.
The Chancellor will then issue a written decision, which shall be deemed final.