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Copyright Policy

Copyright Use and Ownership Policy

Copyright is designed to promote science and the arts by protecting the rights of the creators of new works to reproduce, adapt, publish, perform, and display these works. These exclusive rights are limited by the concept of “fair use” which allows the use of copyrighted works “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” (U.S. Code Title 7 Section 107). Oklahoma City University strongly supports the rights of creators of copyrighted works and the fair use of such works in the educational setting. Oklahoma City University faculty, staff, and students are expected to comply with copyright law. 

  1. § Application. This policy applies to all individuals employed by Oklahoma City University or attending the University as students. Compliance with the policy is a mandatory condition of employment or enrollment.
  2. § Goals. The goals of this policy are to preserve traditional University practices regarding copyright ownership of scholarly, pedagogical, and creative works by faculty and students, to foster creativity and the free exchange of ideas and opinions, and to protect the University’s interest in works produced at its direction or supported by the use of substantial University resources.
  3. § Rights of faculty, administrators, staff, and students generally.
    1. Faculty: In accordance with established academic custom and subject to the exceptions set forth elsewhere in this policy, faculty members shall own the copyrights in their individual scholarly, pedagogical, and creative works in any medium. Such works include, but are not limited to, books, articles, poems, short stories, musical compositions, sound recordings, choreography, works of visual art, films, blog postings, and individual podcasts (excluding podcasts of University classes or events), lecture notes, presentation slides, and the like.
    2. Administrators and Staff: In accordance with the work-for-hire doctrine, the University owns the copyright in any works created by University administrators and staff within the ordinary scope of their employment in the absence of an express agreement to the contrary. Administrators who are also faculty members retain the copyrights in their scholarly, pedagogical, and creative works; the University owns the copyright in works created in the ordinary course of their administrative duties.
    3. Students: Students shall own the copyrights in any works created in the course of their education, subject to the exceptions set forth elsewhere in this policy. Such works may include, but are not limited to, dissertations, papers, articles, poems, short stories, musical compositions, sound recordings, choreography, works of visual art, and other creative or scholarly works.
    4. University Noncommercial Use Rights: Notwithstanding the preceding subsections, the University shall have a right to make photographic or other reproductions of faculty or student works created or located at the University. It may distribute, display, perform, adapt, or otherwise use those reproductions for noncommercial purposes including, but not limited to education, scholarship, accreditation, promotion of the University, and the like, as examples of faculty and student work, and inclusion in its archives or collections.
  4. § Rights of the University in Institutional Works. As a general rule, the University shall own the copyright in works created by faculty, administrators, or staff that are:
    1. Created at the direction of the University for University purposes. Such works include, for example, university reports, studies, memoranda, marketing and promotional materials, and the like.
    2. Supported by a specific substantial allocation of University funds or technical or staff support. The phrase “substantial allocation” shall not include the use of library resources, campus facilities, technology, routine research grants, or support staff normally made available to faculty and students. It might include, for example, special funding or support for the making of a film, the production of a play, the writing of a musical composition, or the like.
    3. University publications such as journals, periodicals, law reviews, compendiums, anthologies, promotional publications, or films. Contributors to publications such as journals, law reviews, or anthologies, which compile individually copyrightable works, own the copyrights in their individual contributions, subject to the terms of their contracts with those publications. The University owns the copyright in the compilation as a whole, including its selection and arrangement.
    4. Collaborative works created under the guidance of a University department.
    5. The University may agree to alter the preceding allocation of copyright ownership by express written agreement. Creators who receive university support for projects should contact the university counsel for clarification of copyright ownership.
  5. § Rights in course content, recordings of classes, and the like.
    1. As noted in § 3(a), faculty generally own the copyrights in their own lecture notes, presentation slides, videos and other course materials that they create. Where faculty members create courses, such as online courses, at the specific direction of the University or a University department, the Office of General Counsel will negotiate an express written agreement concerning copyright ownership of the resulting course content. Such agreement will be structured to permit use of the content by both the University and the faculty member. At a minimum, the University will have a nonexclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license to exercise all of the rights of the copyright holder.
  6. § Works produced by outside contractors. When the University commissions the production of works by third parties, such as independent contractors, consultants, recipients of grants, etc., the copyright will belong to the creators of the works unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. As a condition of any such commission, employment, or agreement, the creators shall agree to grant the University a nonexclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license to use the work for the University’s educational, operational, or research needs.
  7. § Administration of this policy. The University Office of General Counsel will administer this policy. All questions regarding copyright ownership should be directed to that office.
  1. Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, adapt, or publicly perform or display a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
  2. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
  3. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
  4. For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.

Approved by Academic Council

January 6, 2012

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