Current version: December 22, 1998
Establishes Stanford policy on copyright ownership and defines administrative procedures for policy implementation.
This document describes Stanford policies and associated administrative procedures for copyrightable materials and other intellectual property.
Its objectives are:
to enable the University to foster the free and creative expression and exchange of ideas and comment;
to preserve traditional University practices and privileges with respect to the publication of scholarly works;
to establish principles and procedures for sharing income derived from copyrightable material produced at the University; and
to protect the University's assets and imprimatur.
Section headings for this Policy Statement are:
Copyright is the ownership and control of the intellectual property in original works of authorship which are subject to copyright law. It is the policy of the University that all rights in copyright shall remain with the creator unless the work is a work-for-hire (and copyright vests in the University under copyright law), is supported by a direct allocation of funds through the University for the pursuit of a specific project, is commissioned by the University, makes significant use of University resources or personnel, or is otherwise subject to contractual obligations.
NOTE: Policy governing patentable software is contained in the Research Policy Handbook document entitled Inventions, Patents and Licensing (document 5.1).
In accord with academic tradition, except to the extent set forth in this policy, Stanford does not claim ownership to pedagogical, scholarly, or artistic works, regardless of their form of expression. Such works include those of students created in the course of their education, such as dissertations, papers and articles. The University claims no ownership of popular nonfiction, novels, textbooks, poems, musical compositions, unpatentable software, or other works of artistic imagination which are not institutional works and did not make significant use of University resources or the services of University non-faculty employees working within the scope of their employment. (See Sections 1.H and 5.B below).
The University shall retain ownership of works created as institutional works. Institutional works include works that are supported by a specific allocation of University funds or that are created at the direction of the University for a specific University purpose. Institutional works also include works whose authorship cannot be attributed to one or a discrete number of authors but rather result from simultaneous or sequential contributions over time by multiple faculty and students. For example, software tools developed and improved over time by multiple faculty and students where authorship is not appropriately attributed to a single or defined group of authors would constitute an institutional work. The mere fact that multiple individuals have contributed to the creation of a work shall not cause the work to constitute an institutional work.
All faculty, staff, student employees, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as non-employees who participate or intend to participate in teaching and/or research or scholarship projects at Stanford are bound by this policy. They are also required to sign the Stanford University Patent and Copyright Agreement (referred to as SU-18). See Research Policy Handbook document 5.1, entitled Inventions, Patents and Licensing. Except as described in Section 1.B. above, this agreement assigns rights to copyrightable works resulting from University projects to Stanford. This policy applies, and those subject to this policy are deemed to assign their rights to copyrightable works, whether or not a SU-18 is signed and is on file.
Royalty income received by the University for such works will normally be distributed in accordance with University policy (see Section 2.B.2 below). Physical embodiments of copyrightable works may also be subject to the University's policy on Tangible Research Property, also in the Research Policy Handbook document 5.3.
Under the Copyright Act, works of non-employees such as consultants, independent contractors, etc. generally are owned by the creator and not by the University, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. As it is Stanford's policy that the University shall retain ownership of such works (created as institutional rather than personal efforts, as described in Section 1.C, above), Stanford will generally require a written agreement from non-employees that ownership of such works will be assigned to the University.
Examples of works which the University may retain non-employees to prepare are:
Courses taught and courseware developed for teaching at Stanford belong to Stanford. Any courses which are videotaped or recorded using any other media are Stanford property, and may not be further distributed without permission from the cognizant academic dean (or, in the case of SLAC, by the director). Blanket permission is provided for evanescent video or other copies for the use of students, or for other University purposes. Prior to videotaping, permission should be obtained from anyone who will appear in the final program. In this regard, see the University's policy on Consent to Use of Photographic Images, which is found in the Privacy of Student Records section of the Stanford Bulletin.
This Copyright Policy shall not be interpreted to limit the University's ability to meet its obligations for deliverables under any contract, grant, or other arrangement with third parties, including sponsored research agreements, license agreements and the like. Copyrightable works that are subject to sponsored research agreements or other contractual obligations of the University shall be owned by the University, so that the University may satisfy its contractual obligations.
Stanford University resources are to be used solely for University purposes and not for personal gain or personal commercial advantage, nor for any other non-University purposes. Therefore, if the creator of a copyrightable work makes significant use of the services of University non-faculty employees or University resources to create the work, he or she shall disclose the work to the Office of Technology Licensing and assign title to the University. Examples of non-significant use include ordinary use of desktop computers, University libraries and limited secretarial or administrative resources. Questions about what constitutes significant use should be directed to the appropriate school dean or the Dean of Research.
When copyright is assigned to Stanford because of the provisions of this policy, the creator of the copyrighted material may make a request to the Dean of Research that ownership be reconveyed back to the creator. Such a request can, at the discretion of the Dean, be granted if it does not: (i) violate any legal obligations of or to the University, (ii) limit appropriate University uses of the materials, (iii) create a real or potential conflict of interest for the creator, or (iv) otherwise conflict with University goals or principles.
Questions of ownership or other matters pertaining to materials covered by this policy shall be resolved by the Dean of Research (or his or her designee) in consultation with the Office of Sponsored Research, the Office of Technology Licensing and the Legal Office. For academic and research issues, the Dean of Research is the Provost's designee.
The Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) seeks the most effective means of technology transfer for public use and benefit and, toward that end, handles the evaluation, marketing, negotiations and licensing of University-owned inventions or copyrightable materials with commercial potential.
Computer databases, software and firmware, and other copyrightable works owned by the University, are licensed through OTL. Exceptions to this procedure must be approved in advance by the Dean of Research.
Royalties will normally be allocated in accordance with the University's policy on Inventions, Patents, and Licensing. If copyright protection alone is claimed, royalties normally will be allocated in a similar manner, with the "inventor's share" allocated among individuals identified by the investigator (or department head if not under a sponsored agreement), based on their relative contributions to the work. Where royalty distribution to individuals would be impracticable or inequitable (for example, when the copyrightable material has been developed as a laboratory project, or where individual royalty distribution could distort academic priorities), the "inventor's share" may be allocated to a research or educational account in the laboratory where the copyrightable material was developed. Such determination will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Technology Licensing after consultation with the principal investigator or department head, and is subject to the approval of the Dean of Research.
No assignment, license or other agreement may be entered into or will be considered valid with respect to copyrighted works owned by the University except by an official specifically authorized to do so.
Questions regarding licensing and royalty-sharing should be addressed to the Office of Technology Licensing.
The following notice should be placed on University-owned materials in order to protect the copyright:
Copyright © [year] The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford Junior University. All Rights Reserved.
No other institutional or departmental name is to be used in the copyright notice, although the name and address of the department to which readers can direct inquiries may be listed below the copyright notice. The date in the notice should be the year in which the work is first published, i.e. distributed to the public or any sizable audience.
Additionally, works may be registered with the United States Copyright Office using its official forms. Forms may be obtained from the Office of Technology Licensing, to which questions concerning copyright notices and registration also may be addressed.
Each department is responsible for getting a Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU-18) signed, normally at the time of the individual's initial association with Stanford. See Section 1.D above.
Members of the University community are cautioned to observe the rights of other copyright owners. Contact the Provost's Office or the Legal Office for University policies pertaining to copying for classroom use. Policies regarding copying for library purposes may be obtained from the Office of the Director of Libraries.
Contracts and grants frequently contain complex provisions relating to copyright, rights in data, royalties, publication and various categories of material including proprietary data, computer software, licenses, etc. Questions regarding the specific terms and conditions of individual contracts and grants, or regarding rules, regulations and statutes applicable to the various government agencies, should be addressed to the University's Office of Sponsored Research.
The Office of Sponsored Research, the Office of Technology Licensing, the Office of the Dean of Research and the Legal Office are available to advise on questions arising under this policy, and to assist with the negotiation and interpretation of the provisions of proposed formal agreements with third parties, as described earlier in this section.
Trade and service marks are distinctive words or graphic symbols identifying the sources, product, producer, or distributor of goods or services. Trade or service marks relating to goods or services distributed by the University shall be owned by the University. Examples include names and symbols used in conjunction with computer programs or University activities and events. Consult the Office of Technology Licensing for information about registration, protection, and use of marks.
See Stanford Policy on Inventions, Patents and Licensing, Research Policy Handbook document 5.1.
Proprietary information arising out of University work (e.g., actual and proposed terms of research agreements, financial arrangements, or confidential business information) shall be owned by the University. "Trade secret" is a legal term referring to any information, whether or not copyrightable or patentable, which is not generally known or accessible, and which gives competitive advantage to its owner. Trade secrets are proprietary information.
NOTE: All research involving proprietary information owned by others is subject to the University's Policy Guidelines on Openness in Research, as adopted by the Senate of the Academic Council. This policy can be found in the Research Policy Handbook document 2.6.
The University encourages the prompt and open exchange, for others' scholarly use, of software, firmware and biological material resulting from research. See Stanford's policy on Tangible Research Property, Research Policy Handbook document 5.3.
Under the federal copyright law, copyright subsists in "original works of authorship" which have been fixed in any tangible medium of expression from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. These works include:
Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, process, concept, discovery or the like, but only to the work in which it may be embodied, illustrated, or explained. For example, a written description of a manufacturing process is copyrightable, but the copyright only prevents unauthorized copying of the description; the process described could be freely copied unless it enjoys some other protection, such as patent.
Subject to various exceptions and limitations provided for in the copyright law, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies by sale or otherwise, and display or perform the work publicly. Ownership of copyright is distinct from the ownership of any material object in which the work may be embodied. For example, if one purchases a videotape, one does not necessarily obtain the right to make a public showing for profit.
The term of copyright in works created on or after January 1, 1978, is the life of the author plus seventy years. Copyright in works-for-hire is for ninety-five years from the date of first publication or one hundred twenty years from creation, whichever period first expires.
"Work for hire" is a legal term defined in the Copyright Act as "a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment." This definition includes works prepared by employees in satisfaction of sponsored agreements between the University and outside agencies. Certain commissioned works also are works for hire if the parties so agree in writing.
The employer (i.e., the University) by law is the "author," and hence the owner, of works for hire for copyright purposes. Works for hire subject to this principle include works that are developed, in whole or in part, by University employees. For example, under Section 1.H of this policy, significant use of staff or student employee programmers or University film production personnel will typically result in University ownership of the copyright in the resulting work. Where a work is jointly developed by University faculty or staff or student employees and a non-University third-party, the copyright in the resulting work typically will be jointly owned by the University and the third party. In such instances, both the University and the other party would have nonexclusive rights to exploit the work, subject to the duty to account to each other. Whether the University claims ownership of a work will be determined in accordance with the provisions of this policy, and not solely based upon whether the work constitutes a work-for-hire under the copyright law. For example, copyright in pedagogical, scholarly or artistic works to which the University disclaims ownership under this policy shall be held by the creators regardless of whether the work constitutes a work-for-hire under copyright law. University ownership in a work for hire may be relinquished only by an official of the University authorized to do so by the Board of Trustees.