UO Policies - Copyright


A copyright is any unique expression fixed in tangible form. Copyright exists upon the creation of an eligible work—you do not have to do anything to obtain it. A central tenet of copyright is that authors should have the right to reasonably control the use of their creative output and to receive appropriate recognition for their contribution. At UO, employee authors and creators will own the copyright to works and materials which they create unless:

  • The works were developed with significant institutional resources.
  • The works were developed using funds awarded under a sponsored project or otherwise administered by UO.
  • The works were developed as a part of a specific work assignment, e.g. given by a supervisor or identified in an employment agreement.



Works developed without funding and not as a specific work assignment, but with minimal use of UO resources, are not required to be assigned to UO. The university asserts copyright ownership over only those materials that fall within the parameters defined by IMD 6.2:

To be owned by their authors or creators:

  • lecture notes and other materials prepared by academic staff in connection with a teaching assignment and with only incidental use of institutional facilities, funds, staff, and other resources
  • books, musical or dramatic composition, architectural designs, paintings, sculptures, or other works of comparable type
  • materials which were developed with no institutional effort or institutional effort

To be owned by UO:

  • materials developed with institutional resources
  • materials developed in the course of employment means, either materials for which the author was employed for the specific purpose of preparing or producing, or for which the author was specifically directed to develop as part of general employment duties and responsibilities
  • materials which were developed with significant institution-assisted effort, and materials developed under sponsored assignments



UO exempts material published in scholarly or professional journals without monetary compensation from any requirement to assign copyrights to UO. Most journals require and receive copyright assignments or licenses directly from the authors.

The general obligation of academic staff to produce scholarly works does not constitute a specific work assignment, and therefore in the absence of the other guideline conditions above (no specific directed work assignment or contract, no funding, no significant institutional resources) the copyrights to such works are not obligated to be assigned to UO (IMD 6.215). 



UO provides the following practical guidelines for what must be disclosed and what doesn’t necessarily need to be disclosed to IPS:

Disclosure to IPS is not required:

  • In cases where copyrighted materials should be university owned but for which there are no rights licensed or that will be licensed to third parties in exchange for no compensation. IPS will consider proper attribution on the work (© University of Oregon) rather than physical disclosure to IPS to be sufficient to fulfill any disclosure requirement (IMD 6.215).

For practical purposes we are extending this idea to other works, which may include software and other materials that may be distributed under Open Source or Creative Commons licensing, or course materials for either online or physical classes that are created with significant use of institutional resources (please see course materials section). In essence, UO is allowing the authors of these works to decide on how they would like to give permission to third parties to use UO copyrighted works (and not requiring that you tell us about it) as long as: 1) there is no money involved; 2) authors have disclosed any potential conflict of interest; 3) if there is a potential conflict, the author has obtained a UO COI management plan; and 4) the proper name is used in the copyright notice. Although not required, these materials may still be disclosed to IPS, and IPS remains a resource to faculty and research projects to discuss the licensing and management of these copyright materials.

Disclosure to IPS is required:

  • In cases where copyrighted materials should be university owned and for which there will be or may be rights licensed to third parties in exchange for compensation, UO requires disclosure to IPS.

Typically the works owned by UO will have used significant university resources, will have been developed with funding administered by UO, or will have been directed by a supervisor.  As such, this guideline requires disclosure of this category of copyright material in order for IPS to fulfill our policy responsibility (IMD 6.235) to maximize public, institution, and author benefits when seeking licenses and publishing agreements, and in general to act as good stewards of university assets.

If there is any question about whether or not a copyright work must be disclosed, we encourage you to discuss your project with IPS. Additionally, IPS staff can help with copyright registration, formally documenting the copyright for increased protection.



IPS will endeavor to license copyrights in counsel with the authors and with the best interests of the innovation and the goals of the project in mind.

As a consequence of our guidelines on copyright disclosure, there will be UO-owned copyright works where the authors will have control over the grant of rights and licensing of the work as long as proper attribution is made. IPS is a resource for these employees to aid in navigating licensing options and structures, and we encourage authors to use the appropriate Creative Commons or Open Source licenses when distributing the work, if applicable. Please contact IPS for guidance navigating your options in protecting your copyright and distributing materials in line with project goals.