Davis Faculty Association

Archive for December, 1999

Copyrighting your course materials

As an Academic Senate member, you probably received a recent memo signed by Jeffery Gibeling (UCD Academic Senate Chair) and Janet Hamilton (Vice Chancellor – Administration). This memo, dated November 19 and labeled as Directive #99-134, suggests that as “an appropriate first step to prevent unauthorized distribution” of course notes on the Web, faculty can attach a statement to all course material that begins, “Copyright (author’s name) and the Regents of the University of California (year).” The memo also observes that this statement “differs materially from one recently recommended by the Davis Faculty Association.”

We appreciate the efforts of Professor Gibeling and Vice Chancellor Hamilton to help faculty members protect the intellectual property represented by course content. The protective statement they recommend, however, might give the Regents a legal share in the copyright to your own original course materials. Perhaps that would make the Regents (and the UC administration) more aggressive in defending such copyrights against trespass by Web entrepreneurs. But in the long run, you may lose more than you would gain by making the Regents a party to your copyright. As the Gibeling/Hamilton memo indicates, complex issues of federal and state law as well as University policy are involved here, and they will not be resolved quickly. Meanwhile, we continue to recommend that you distribute the following copyright notice at the beginning of your winter quarter classes:

Copyright (author’s name) (year)
All federal and state copyrights reserved for all original material presented in this course through any medium, including lecture or print. Individuals are prohibited from being paid for taking, selling, or otherwise transferring for value, personal class notes made during this course to any entity without the express written permission of (author). In addition to legal sanctions, students found in violation of these prohibitions may be subject to University disciplinary action.

The original DFA memo providing the rationale for this form of the copyright notice is available online at: http://www.ucdfa.org/news_articles/e_report3.htm

Further court decisions will undoubtedly redefine some of the issues. The Davis Faculty Association will continue to monitor developments in copyright law and University policy that are salient to faculty members’ rights. We invite your comments.


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