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Home > Creating Copyright > Ownership Factors

Ownership Factors

In determining ownership:

  • Law sets the defaults
  • Policies clarify and apply the law

  • Contracts transfer rights

Who owns works created at the University? Do you? Does the University? Does someone else? What if many people contribute to the work? Does everyone own it?

Determine Ownership
There are two ways to determine ownership in a project

  • Set up a project with written agreements through UW TechTransfer Digital Ventures so that ownership is where you want it to be, or
  • Do nothing and let the law tell you where it is. This means that if you don't do anything to structure ownership of a work, as soon as the work is created ownership will be established according to law and the owner may not be who you think it is or who it should be.

Applying the Law
Applying the law can be complicated. The law considers who authored the work and whether the work was prepared for an employer. If more than one author is involved, it becomes necessary to consider how those involved intended for their work to be merged.

It is also necessary to consider any contracts or other obligations related to the creation of the work, and whether the work incorporates existing copyright material.

Any and all of these variables can have an impact on ownership.


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