The University of California Policy on Copyright Ownership has been revised for the first time since 1992. The revised policy reflects a long development process, starting with a working group study in 2013 and culminating in a recent round of full systemwide review. As described in its issuance letter, the revised policy aims to:
- Expand eligibility to own copyrights. The definition of “Academic Authors” in the revised policy is simplified and expands the pool of those eligible to own copyright. Among other things, it eliminates references to Academic Personnel Manual (APM) titles.
- Expand and clarify the pool of works eligible for copyright ownership. The policy includes a definition of “Scholarly & Aesthetic Works” – a definition that did not exist in the 1992 policy. It also clarifies that software is a work for which eligible employees may own the copyright.
- Create a definition for “Significant University Resources” as a limitation on the University’s ownership. The current policy has a broad definition of “University Resources,” which directs, in some instances, that the University assert copyright ownership when the University’s resources contributed to the development of the copyright work. The revised policy now includes a key limitation such that the level of University resources must be “significant” and beyond the support provided to similarly- situated authors.
- Clarify copyright ownership for Graduate Students. The revised policy provides greater clarity regarding copyright ownership by graduate students of their theses, dissertations, and other copyrightable works.
- Clarify the application of this policy for Represented (Union) Employees. The revised policy specifically carves out any provision that is inconsistent with a union employee’s collective bargaining agreement regarding copyright ownership.