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Policy on Intellectual Property Rights for Web-Based Course Delivery 

St. Bonaventure University encourages the production of creative and scholarly research and works (known broadly as “intellectual property”) among faculty, students and staff. The purpose of the following policy is to support and reward scholarship; to help faculty identify, protect, and administer intellectual property matters involved in the online delivery of instruction; and to retain for the University and its learning communities reasonable access to and use of intellectual property for whose creation the University has provided assistance.

This policy applies to works created by faculty in developing a course or instructional activities to be delivered in an electronic format on behalf of the University. This policy applies regardless of whether the works’ primary purpose is use on the main campus or electronic delivery to distant sites. In this policy, web-assisted or web-based materials consist of (but are not limited to) the following: lecture notes, ancillary topics, background readings, surveys, data sets, bibliographies, images, graphs and other illustrations, lists of links, quizzes and examinations, and discussion questions. These materials (either delivered to students via email or university supported courseware such as Moodle) shall remain a “work of authorship” and be the exclusive property of the faculty author(s) and under sole control of the faculty author(s) unless one or more of the following three conditions apply and are agreed to, in advance, in writing, by the faculty author and an authorized agent of the University:

  1. The University has expressly contracted with a faculty member to create the web site, web-assisted materials or web-based materials, or the web site, web-assisted materials or web-based materials are created as a specific requirement of employment or as an assigned institutional duty (i.e., performed as “work for hire”) specifically referenced in a role statement, position description or equivalent document; or
  2. The faculty author has voluntarily transferred the copyright, in whole or in part, to the institution; or
  3. The University is considered a “joint author” under the Copyright Act, when, for example, it has provided special resources, facilities or materials not commonly made available to faculty members in the preparation of materials.

In addition, course contents and data, including student work, cannot be cleared until one year has passed.

Faculty creation of web-assisted or web-based materials using traditional library resources, desktop computers and peripherals, network access, faculty accounts and normal allocations of server space shall not be defined as “significant use” of University resources. Just as the University does not own the contents of a faculty member’s file cabinet by virtue of owning the cabinet itself, so does this policy conceive of desktops, servers, associated networks and other resources listed above as forms of “electronic file cabinets” in which the rights to contents are separate from ownership of the container. To the same purpose, this policy encourages the comparison between faculty files on University servers and faculty-authored textbooks in the University library stacks, and between the use of on-line information resources and the use of traditional library resources and service.

Even when faculty members retain full control of web-assisted or web-based materials, the University shall be permitted to use such materials for internal administrative purposes, including satisfying requests of accreditation agencies for faculty-authored syllabi and course descriptions. The University shall be permitted to use such materials for instructional or other educational purposes only with explicit written consent of the faculty author, and without interfering with the faculty author’s right to make use of the work elsewhere. In an agreement transferring copyright for such works to a publisher, faculty authors are urged to seek to provide rights for the University to use such works for internal administrative and/or other purposes.

Course descriptions, objectives, and required assignments and activities developed for the delivery of academic programs at St. Bonaventure belong to St. Bonaventure.