Davis Faculty Association

Copyright Protection for Lectures

As a new academic year is about to begin, the Board of the Davis Faculty Association once again urges its colleagues to take a few simple steps to safeguard the original material which they distribute to their classes in tangible form; in effect material that you produce and distribute that can be picked up and carried around. What you say in class does not fall into this category. The distinction is an important one because material in tangible form is covered by Federal Copyright law while what you present verbally in a classroom is the province of California Civil law.

With regard to tangible course materials such as your syllabus, original problem sets and their solutions, course web-site postings etc, we recommend that you put on the bottom of each page a statement such as the one proposed last year by the UC Davis Business Contracts Office:

“Copyright [your full professional name], [year]. All federal and state copyrights reserved for all original material presented in this course through any medium, including lecture or print.”


We further recommend that faculty members whose distributed tangibles include substantial amounts of original material, such as lab manuals or drafts of papers/chapters formally register those copyrights. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive exercise ($30.00) which would make it much faster and simpler to pursue a copyright infringer if one should surface. The forms and instructions for registering a copyright are readily available on the Library of Congress website: www.loc.gov/copyright/.

We continue to discourage faculty members from including the Regents of the University of California as co-copyright holders because we believe that doing so would severely compromise ownership rights which faculty currently enjoy under California State Law. We say that because according to the California Legislative Counsel: “Existing case law provides that in the absence of evidence of agreement to the contrary, a teacher, rather than the institution for which he or she teaches, owns the common law copyright to his or her lectures.” An inclusion of the Regents in a copyright statement would clearly constitute “…evidence of agreement to the contrary.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 29th, 2000 at 2:50 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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