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Protecting Your Copyrights

Copyright Registration
Frequently Asked Questions (from the U.S. Copyright Office site)
Tech-Enhanced Course Materials and Copyright

It is often assumed that in order to have copyright protection of a creation, one must file paperwork with the U.S. Copyright Office. That is not true. Copyright protection applies as soon as the creation/idea is created/produced in a tangible format.

US Copyright Office's "Copyright Basics" can answer most of your questions about who can claim copyright on what and how.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wccc

Copyright Registration

Copyright registration is intended to create a public record of the facts involved in the process for a specific work. Details on the registration of copyright for various formats can be explored at http://www.copyright.gov/register/ This page will provide information on the types of materials eligible for copyright and the appropriate forms needed to file for it.

Copyright Renewal Database

The years between 1923 - 1963 are unique in US copyrights because all the works published before this date are in the public domain and all those published after it were automatically renewed by the 1976 Copyright Act. The works created in the intervening forty years required a renewal registration to avoid expiration of the copyright. The renewals received between 1950 and 1977 are not in machine readable format at the Copyright office so Standford University has created the Copyright Renewal Database, a searchable database of these registrations.

Frequently Asked Questions
(the U.S. Copyright Office website)

Who can register?
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-who.html#foreigners

Registering a work
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html#register

Which form should I use?
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-forms.html#whichform

I've mailed my application, fee, and copy of my work to the Copyright Office. Now what?
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-what.html#received

How long does copyright protection last?
http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html#duration

Tech-Enhanced Course Materials and Copyright

Faculty and staff who are involved in preparing materials for tech-enhanced courses ( e.g., distance education courses delivered over the internet) have had questions about who owns the course materials once they are posted on the campus network.

In October 2001, the UA System Board passed Policy 210.2 in response to concerns about the development of tech-enhanced course materials (TECMs) for distance learning. The development of quality TECMs were seen by the Board as an important part of quality distance education in Arkansas, but it was not clear how existing policies concerning copyright and patents applied. It also was recognized that the production of quality TECMs would involve the investment by the university of considerable resources. UA System Board Policy 210.2 was an attempt to clarify the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in the development of TECMs. Individual campuses were then given the responsibility to apply the Policy to their individual situations. How this policy would apply to UALR was the subject of much review and discussion by several faculty and administrative groups. The UALR Faculty Senate adopted the final version during its April 2002, meeting. Chancellor Hathaway approved his policy in May 2002, and it was forwarded to the UA System Office.

In brief, the policy assumes that the intellectual property rights for any TECM resides with the faculty member unless an agreement has been signed indicating otherwise.

For the latest version of the policy plus the procedures and forms for its implementation, visit UALR Intellectual Property Policy, accessible through the “Faculty Resources” section on the WebCT Login website. Any questions can be directed to the current Chair of the Faculty Senate Academic Technology and Computer Committee.

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Remember that copyright is an area where there is still much ambiguity. Future legislation and court decisions will continue to shape copyright law. Information provided on this website should not be construed as legal advice.