- Home »
- Copyright Ownership and Use Policy
Copyright Ownership and Use Policy
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
(Approved by the Board of Trustees, April 18, 2002)
(Approved by President Broad, June 18, 2002)
Part A - Preamble, Authority, and Coverage
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is dedicated to its mission of instruction, research and service. It is the policy of this University that its faculty, staff and students carry out their scholarly work in an open and free atmosphere, and that consistent with applicable laws and policy they publish the results of such work without restraint. Additionally, this University is administratively committed to providing an environment that maximizes the creative potential of its faculty, staff and students. To that end, the University believes that support for and ownership of creative works should be given to the creator or creators of those works subject to the retention by the University of rights for internal educational use and research. Ownership of Copyright by the University is reserved for those works created at the direction of the University or pursuant to negotiated agreements. Additionally, the University supports the responsible, good faith exercise of full fair use rights by employees and students in furtherance of their teaching, research, service and other educational activities. This Policy implements these principles and commitments.
The University of North Carolina Copyright Use and Ownership Policy was enacted by the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina on November 10, 2000. The Board of Governors (UNC) policy indicates that the chief executive officers of each institution are to take certain steps to implement the policy, including the adoption of an institutional policy that will comport with the terms of the UNC Policy. This UNCG Copyright Ownership and Use Policy (Policy) is issued pursuant to that directive and under the Chancellor's executive authority provided in G.S. 116-34. This Policy shall be administered in accordance with the UNC policy.
This Policy covers all University students and employees. Compliance with the UNC Copyright Use and Ownership Policy and this Policy is a condition of employment for all University employees and a condition of enrollment for all University students.
Part B - Ownership
- Traditional Works or Non-Directed Works.
- A "traditional work or non-directed work" is a pedagogical, scholarly, literary, or aesthetic (artistic) work originated by a faculty or other EPA employee resulting, from non-directed effort. Such works may include, but are not limited to, the following: textbooks, manuscripts, scholarly works, fixed lecture notes, distance learning materials not falling into one of the other categories of this Policy, works of art or design, musical scores, poems, films, videos, audio recordings, or other works of the kind that have historically been deemed in academic communities to be the property of their creator.
- Directed Works.
- "Directed works" include works that are specifically funded by or created at the direction of the University (including, but not limited to, works for hire by faculty or other EPA non faculty employees). The directive must be given to the employee in writing and must specify the work or works to be created.
- Sponsored or Externally Contracted Works.
- A "sponsored or externally contracted work" is any type of work developed using funds supplied under a contract, grant, or other arrangement between the University and third parties, including sponsored research agreements.
- Works made for Hire.
- A "work for hire" is either: (a) a work prepared by an SPA or student employee within the scope of his or her employment; or (b) a work specially ordered or commissioned by an independent contractor for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.
- Student works.
- Papers, computer programs, theses, dissertations, artistic and musical works, and other creative works made by students. (For purposes of administering this Policy, the term "students" shall also include teaching, graduate, and research assistants.)
- means the employee or student author of a work or an employee or student who contributes original art, graphics, video or other components of a work. When the word "creator' is used in this Policy it also includes the plural where there is more than one author or contributor.
- means faculty, EPA nonfaculty and SPA staff.
- Shop Right
- means a non-exclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, or make derivative works of the copyrighted work, for educational or research purposes only.
- Exceptional use of institutional resources
means institutional support of works utilizing resources of a degree or nature not routinely made available to faculty or other EPA employees in a given area.
The following are some examples of situations that are presumed to be exceptional use:
- waiver of fees normally required to use specialized University facilities (e.g., equipment, production facilities, service laboratories, special computing resources, studios) where those facilities are used in creation of the work;
- University grants or gifts in support of the work's creation;
- reduction in levels of teaching, service or other University employment responsibilities (e.g., course load, student advising, division/department meetings, office hours, administrative tasks) granted solely for the purpose of facilitating creation of a specified work or works;
- use of University personnel, laboratory space, equipment, or supplies not routinely made available to faculty or other EPA nonfaculty employees.
- Exceptional use does not normally include routine use of University personnel, office space, laboratories, desktop computers, libraries, telephones, and information resources in a manner that (a) does not interfere with or delay use for University business purposes, and (b) does not result in substantial direct costs to the University.
Categories of Work and Copyright Ownership
Works by Faculty and EPA Nonfaculty Employees
Traditional Works or Non-Directed Works
Ownership: Creator of the work.
The University, where practical, shall be granted a Shop Right.
Traditional Works or Non-Directed Works Involving Exceptional Use of Institutional Resources
Ownership: University. However, the University finds that in most cases it is to the benefit of the University to waive its claim to ownership of such works subject only to retention of a Shop Right, and, therefore a request for waiver by the author will normally be granted. However, there may be cases where a request for resources is so substantial that the University will wish to negotiate either full or joint ownership as a condition for granting those resources to the creator. If agreement cannot be reached, the matter shall be resolved as specified in Part D., Resolution of Questions about Copyright Ownership.
Ownership: University. The work's creator, where practical, shall be granted a Shop Right. The University may release or transfer its copyrights to the work's creator under a written agreement negotiated between the creator and the University. In these instances, the University will usually retain (a) a Shop Right, and/or (b) the right to require reimbursement and/or income sharing from the work's creator to the University in accordance with Part B., Commercialization of Employee or Student Owned Works by University if the work produces income for the creator. The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, upon recommendation of the Copyright Committee and approval by the Provost.
Sponsored or Externally Contracted Works
Ownership: University or Creator, depending upon the contractual agreement with the sponsor.
For a sponsored or externally contracted work created under an agreement that expressly requires copyright ownership by the University, the creator of the work must disclose the work to the University. If there is no conflict with a sponsored agreement, the University may release or transfer its rights to the work's creator under an agreement negotiated between the creator and the University. In such situations, the University will usually retain: (a) a Shop Right, and/or (b) the right to require reimbursement and/or income sharing from the work's creator to the University if the work produces income for the creator. The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, upon recommendation of the Copyright Committee and approval by the Provost.
For a sponsored or externally contracted work created under an agreement that does not expressly require copyright ownership by the University or a third party, the creator of the work shall own the work provided it is not a directed work or work created with the exceptional use of university resources. In case of ownership by the work's creator, the University, where practical, shall be assigned a Shop Right.
Works by SPA Staff
Most works by SPA staff members are considered to be "Works for Hire."
Ownership: Works created by SPA staff that are within the course and scope of their employment shall be owned by the University.
In exceptional circumstances, the SPA employee's supervisor or the SPA employee may request that the University grant the employee:
- a share of royalties;
- joint copyright ownership with the University;
- full copyright ownership; or
- a Shop Right.
Exceptional circumstances may include, but are not limited to, a recommendation from the supervisor, coupled with unusually valuable and hard-to-duplicate work product. The request will be made to the Copyright Committee. The recommendation of the Copyright Committee to grant one or more of the above rights must be approved by the Provost.
Works by Independent Contractors
Works by independent contractors are "Works for Hire."
Ownership: Works by independent contractors shall be owned in accordance with the contract under which the work was created. The University shall ensure that there is a written contract for work by an independent, contractor specifying University ownership.
For all works created by an independent contractor, the University unit that has initiated or benefited from the contract shall be responsible for including contract language providing for University ownership of the copyright. Model language is included in Appendix A. Any exceptions must be approved by the Associate Provost for Research or designee.
Works by Students
Student works as defined in Part B under Definitions.
Ownership: Ownership of the copyright to these works belongs to the student, unless the work falls within one of the exceptions described below:
- Sponsored or Externally Contracted Works. Ownership shall be in accordance with the section of this Policy on sponsored or externally contracted works made by faculty or other EPA employees.
- Works for Hire. Student works created by students in the course of their employment with the University shall be considered to fall within the scope of Works for Hire in accordance with the section of this Policy on works for hire made by SPA staff.
- As a condition of enrollment at UNC Greensboro, students may use class or lab notes they have taken for educational purposes only and may not be used for commercial gain, except for graduate theses and dissertations. Using, allowing or making available class or lab notes to be used for commercial gain is not permitted unless authorized by the Copyright Committee.
- Rights in student works may be transferred between the student and the University by agreement. In such cases, a written Assignment Agreement shall specify the respective rights and obligations of the parties. The parties may also negotiate for joint ownership of such works, with the approval of the appropriate institutional official or body.
- As a condition of enrollment, UNCG retains a shop right to use all student works generated in the course of their academic work at the University.
Commercialization of Works by the University and Division of Proceeds 
Commercialization of Employee or Student Owned Works by University
If a University employee or student wants University assistance to commercialize a work for which he/she owns the copyright, he/she must contact the Associate Provost for Research. If the Associate Provost agrees to assist in commercialization, the creator must assign copyright in the work to the University. The Assignment Agreement shall contain provisions outlining the commercialization responsibilities of the University and a mechanism for the sharing of commercial proceeds with the Creator. The creator receives sixty (60%) percent of the net proceeds from the commercialization of the work and the University receives forty (40%) percent.
Commercialization of University Owned Works
The University may commercialize works owned by the University. If a work created by a faculty member or an EPA nonfaculty member is owned by the University due to exceptional use of University resources and is commercialized by the University, the University receives sixty (60%) percent of the proceeds and the creator receives forty (40%) percent of the net proceeds.
Commercialization of Jointly Owned Works
Works that are jointly owned by the University and the creator or creators may be commercialized in accordance with an agreement negotiated by the parties and the division of proceeds will be specified in that agreement.
Part C - Fair Use
Commitment To Fair Use
As noted in the Preamble to this Policy, the University, supports the responsible, good faith exercise of full fair use rights, as codified in 17 U.S.C. 107, by employees and students in furtherance of their teaching, research, service and other educational activities.
The University shall:
- Inform and educate the University community about fair use and the application of the four fair use factors as set forth in 17 U.S.C. 107 and as interpreted in applicable case law. The four fair use factors are:
- The character and purpose of the proposed use.
- The nature of the work to be used.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion to be used.
- The effect on the market or potential market for the work.
- Develop and make available resources concerning copyright laws in general and the application of fair use in specific situations.
- Ensure that employees and students have access to assistance in making fair use determinations.
Part D - Policy Implementation and Administration
Responsibility for Administration
The Office of the Provost or designee shall administer this Policy.
Information And Assistance Regarding Copyright Ownership and Fair use
Information and Training.
In order to implement this Policy, the Provost, in consultation with the Office of the University Counsel, will:
- Provide the University community with information about copyright law, including the application of fair use in academic settings.
- Hold workshops to educate the University community about copyright and fair use.
- Provide resources on copyright laws in general and on the application of fair use in specific situations.
- Publicize this Policy to the University Community and provide information and guidance on the various provisions contained herein.
Fair Use Advisers.
Each Vice Chancellor and the Provost will designate one or more persons to serve as advisers, for their respective areas, on fair use questions. The advisers will receive training from the Office of the University Counsel, with assistance from the University Teaching and Learning Center and the Jackson Library. The advisers will be the primary contact for persons who have fair use and copyright permission questions related to University business or student works. The advisers may, in turn, contact the Office of the University Counsel with fair use and copyright questions. The availability of the advisers and of copyright information will be publicized to all faculty, staff, and students.
Composition of Committee and Term
The Chancellor, in consultation with the Provost, shall appoint a ten-member Copyright Committee as follows:
- Associate Provost for Research, Chair
- 3 Faculty Representatives (one from the Faculty Senate, one from the General Faculty, and one member of the Graduate Studies Committee)
- 2 SPA Staff Representatives
- 2 EPA Nonfaculty/Administrative Representatives
- 1 Undergraduate student representative and
- 1 Graduate student representative.
Members will be appointed to staggered terms of three years each.
Responsibilities and Authority
The Copyright Committee will review copyright ownership questions,  hear copyright ownership disputes and suggest revisions to this policy. The Copyright Committee will make its recommendations to the Provost or Provost's designee. The Committee shall adopt such polices and procedures as are necessary for its effective operation.
In addition to its other duties and responsibilities, the Copyright Committee shall regularly review the operation of this Policy and make recommendations to the Provost for change when needed.
Resolution of Questions about Copyright Ownership
Questions arising under this Policy concerning ownership  that cannot be resolved by the affected parties will first be referred to mediation. If the parties are not satisfied with the outcome of mediation or if mediation is at an impasse, then the dispute may be brought by any party before the Copyright Committee for review in accordance with procedures adopted by the Committee. At the conclusion of its review, the Committee will submit its written recommendation to the Provost. The decision of the Provost is the final decision at the campus level.
The Provost will resolve all questions arising under the UNCG Copyright Ownership and Use Policy at the campus level and that decision is final. A student or employee who is not satisfied with the Provost's decision may appeal pursuant to section 501C(4) of The UNC Code.  The Provost is the Chancellor's designee to decide an appeal related to copyright use and ownership. Appeals beyond the campus level will only be allowed when copyright ownership rights are in dispute, and only on the grounds that the Provost's decision violates a specified law, or a specified policy of UNC Greensboro or of The University of North Carolina.
Comments or questions? Email the Policy Administrator.
- The term "proceeds" includes lump sums received from the transfer or sale of a copyright, royalties, and any other revenue generated from the copyright.
- Examples of questions about copyright ownership include: who is the owner of a particular work, does a Shop Right exist, and whether royalties in special cases should be shared in different percentages than provided in Part B, Commercialization of Employee or Student Owned Works by University. .
- Questions concerning ownership also include challenges to administrative decisions conditioning the grant of exceptional resources upon assignment of full or joint ownership to the University.
- Section 501C(4) of The Code provides, "Subject to such regulations and limitations as may be prescribed by the Board of Governors, the faculties, staffs, and student bodies of the constituent institutions, or any member thereof, may have the right to appeal the disposition of grievances to the chancellor, and from the chancellor to the President, and from the President to the Board of Governors; provided, that appeals based on policies, rules, or regulations adopted by the Board of Trustees shall be addressed initially to the chancellor, and from the chancellor to the Board of Trustees, and, where allowed, from the Board of Trustees to the Board of Governors; however, all appeals addressed to or requests for hearings by the Board of Governors, from whatever source, shall be transmitted through the President."