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Home > Creating Copyright > Required Information > Getting Started

Getting Started

To determine what you and others can do with works you create, you need to know:

  • How copyright happens
  • How the work was formed

  • How law, policy and contracts affect outcomes

Who Owns It?
When people create copyright works, often the first question is "who owns it?" This is an important question because ownership of the copyright in a work grants the owner several exclusive rights.

Tradition at most universities is that faculty own the rights in certain types of works, such as scholarly articles, lecture notes, and textbooks. In the past, these works have been predominately print-based, single author works of scholarly in nature.

Determining and Apportioning Ownership
A question facing many organizations at this time is how to appropriately apportion ownership of complex works that generally involve the contributions of many individuals. Apportioning ownership can be difficult in web pages, software, and multimedia. These new works are far different from the works that preceded them because they may involve the efforts of designers, programmers, and technicians in addition to faculty or student authors. Further, significant financial resources may be involved.

A blanket determination of ownership based on the type of work is unrealistic. U. S. Copyright law, University copyright policy, and contractual arrangements, such as sponsored research agreements, all can affect ownership of a copyright work. These issues are discussed in greater detail in the Ownership Factors section of this site.

Before you can resolve questions regarding ownership and use of works you create, you need to know how copyright is established and what having these rights means. You'll also need to know a great deal about the work itself and how it was formed if you need to look to the law to provide an answer.

The following pages provide an overview of these issues: Impact of rights, Content is key

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Impact of Rights
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