Approved: November 10, 2008
Revised: May 11, 2009
Posted: September 30, 2009
Policy Topic: Governance and Administration; Academic Affairs; Student Activities
Administering Office: Academic Affairs and Office of Technology Transfer
Western Carolina University is dedicated to instruction, research, and providing service to the people of North Carolina and of the region. It is the policy of this University that its faculty, staff, and students carry out their scholarly work in an open and free atmosphere, and that consistent with applicable laws and policy, they publish the results of such work without restraint.
The environment in which the faculty and students carry out scholarly activities is changing dramatically. The advent of electronic networks, the increasing domination of scholarly publishing by commercial publishers, and the growing role of web-based course materials and distance learning all require increased sophistication of copyright management on the part of the University community.
In order to provide guidance in the copyright management area, The University of North Carolina Copyright Use and Ownership Policy (UNC Policy) was enacted by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina on November 10, 2000. The UNC policy directs each institution to take certain steps to implement this policy.
To those ends, this WCU Copyright Policy is adopted to foster creative activity and discovery within the bounds of academic freedom while at the same time protecting the interests of the University. It seeks to balance the legitimate rights and responsibilities of WCU, its faculty, staff, and students in order to produce the highest quality of scholarly works and to promote the widest possible dissemination of those works. It applies in conjunction with the UNC Policy.
This policy applies to all work produced in the context of the University’s routine scholarly activity conducted through its colleges, departments, and academic units, regardless of delivery mode.
This Policy applies to all University students and employees. Compliance with the UNC Copyright Use and Ownership Policy and WCU Policy #84 is a condition of employment for University faculty and staff and a condition of enrollment for University students.
The Copyright Committee shall have such responsibilities as the Chancellor may specify including, but not limited to, the following duties:
The University is committed to complying with all applicable laws regarding copyrights. Unless a work is in the public domain or the use constitutes fair use as described below, it is generally a violation of this Policy and law for University faculty, staff, or students to reproduce, distribute, display publicly, perform, digitally transmit or prepare derivative works based upon a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner.
1. Permissible Use
Under United States Copyright law, the “fair use doctrine” allows certain specified uses of a copyrighted work without requiring prior permission of the copyright holder under certain situations. As stated in the UNC Policy, the University supports “the responsible, good faith exercise of full fair use rights, as codified in 17 U.S.C. § 107, as amended, by faculty, librarians, and staff in furtherance of their teaching, research, and service activities.”
2. Elements of Fair Use; Good Faith Consideration Required
University faculty, staff, or students who propose to make fair use of a copyrighted work must consider in advance the applicability of four statutory factors to be weighed in making a fair use analysis. These factors are:
3. Procedures for Making Fair Use Determinations
The University Copyright Committee, together with the Office of General Counsel, shall issue and, as necessary, revise guidelines to assist University faculty, staff, and students in making fair use evaluations. Faculty, staff, or students who require assistance with fair use questions are encouraged to consult the appropriate Hunter Library personnel before consulting the Office of General Counsel. Faculty are encouraged to use the UNC System Fair Use Worksheet found on General Administration’s website.
WCU is a community of scholars who pursue intellectual endeavors in many forms. Except as specified below, copyrightable materials resulting from such traditional intellectual endeavors will be the property of the faculty, staff member or student producing it.
Ownership of copyrighted works (whether electronic, digital or otherwise) shall not be determined by its tangible form, nor by its means or mode of delivery or storage. Identification, disclosure, and protection of such copyrighted work are the responsibility of the creator of the work.
1. Works by Faculty and EPA Non-faculty professional employees:
a. Traditional Works or Non-directed Works:
b. Directed Works:
c. Traditional or Non-directed Works Created with “Exceptional Use” of University Resources:
d. Sponsored or Externally Contracted Works are any works developed using funds supplied under a contract, grant, or other arrangement between the University and a third party, including a sponsored research agreement.
e. Appeal: Disputes regarding whether a work has been created through exceptional use of University resources or whether a work is a directed work shall constitute disputes regarding ownership to be resolved under the dispute resolution procedures specified below.
2. Works by SPA Staff created in the scope of employment:
3. Works by Independent Contractors and Volunteers:
The University should obtain copyright ownership for all works created by independent contractors. The University unit that has initiated or benefited from the contract shall be responsible for including contract language providing for University ownership of the copyright. The Chancellor or designee must approve any exceptions.
4. Works by Students
a. The student, with the following exceptions, generally holds copyright to works the student creates as a part of academic endeavor at Western Carolina University.
b. Rights in student works may be transferred between the student and the University. In such cases, a written Agreement shall specify the respective rights and obligations of the parties. The parties may also negotiate through the Office of Technology Transfer for joint ownership of such works.
c. As a condition of enrollment the student shall be deemed to have granted the University a non-exclusive, perpetual, world-wide, royalty-free right and license to reproduce and publicly or privately display, distribute or perform student work, in whole or in part, for the University’s own educational purposes. The definition of “educational purposes” includes research conducted by a University faculty member and any poster, presentation or publication resulting therefrom.  Nothing herein permits the disclosure of a student’s grades, work or other educational records in a personally identifiable manner. This license does not extend to commercialization of the work as defined in section VI.b. below.
5. Works by Multiple and Unknown Authors
The University shall hold the copyright in works where authorship cannot be attributed to one or a discrete number of authors, but instead results from simultaneous or sequential contributions over time by multiple authors who acted in the scope of University employment or academic endeavor (e.g., laboratory manuals, tests, self-paced learning modules created or modified over time either by numerous authors or by some unidentified authors).
1. Exceptional use of University resources has occurred where the University has provided support for the creation of the work with resources of a degree or nature not routinely made available to faculty or EPA non-faculty employees. In such cases, the University owns the copyright.
2. It is understood that “specific remuneration for online course development” is compensation for extraordinary faculty time committed to such online course development and does not constitute “exceptional use of university resources” or “directed works” for the purpose of this policy.
3. Resources that are typically available to scholars (and hence should not constitute “exceptional University resources”) include, but are not limited to, such support as regular salary, office space, regular staff support (e.g. secretarial assistance, graduate and/or professional staff time), laboratory space, studio space, library facilities, ordinary access to telephones, FAX machines, photocopiers, computers and networks including internet access, space for course pages, and technical support.
4. Exceptional use of University resources may include:
5. Ownership Regarding Exceptional Use
6. Release to Creator
With agreement of the dean, director, or department head as defined above, the Office of Technology Transfer may release or transfer the University’s rights in a Traditional Work or Non-Directed Work created through exceptional use of University resources to the work’s Creator through an appropriate written agreement.
7. Joint Ownership
In addition to the foregoing provisions for release to the Creator of a Traditional or Non-Directed Work involving exceptional use of University resources, the University, through the Office of Technology Transfer in consultation with the Creator’s dean or director and the Creator may alternatively negotiate for joint ownership of the work.
1. Creators of copyrighted work are entitled to revenue sharing when the work is commercialized. For purposes of this policy, the word “commercialization” is defined as follows: The licensing, assignment, transfer, or grant of permissive use of a copyright to an entity or individual for the purpose of generating revenue.
2. For purposes of this policy, the word “proceeds” is defined as revenue paid to the University. It excludes any cost reimbursement paid up-front to the University by the licensor, assignee, or permissive user of a copyrighted work for use of the copyrighted work.
3. Works created in any manner may be commercialized by the University and the Creator for other than educational or research purposes as provided below:
4. Allocation of Proceeds
Upon commercialization, the University shall receive 60 percent of the proceeds and the Creator(s) shall receive 40 percent until the direct costs of the University are recovered.
5. In the case of co-Creators, each share for the Creator(s) shall be subdivided equally among them, unless the University in its sole discretion determines a different share is appropriate.
1. For purposes of this policy, “educational use” is defined as university use of a copyrighted work created by University employees and/or students, but owned by the University, in a for-credit course offered by the University.
2. When the university exercises its right to utilize copyrighted work for educational or research purposes (See the shop right provision under Section V.V.1), it will notify the Creator and where practical and appropriate offer the Creator the opportunity to be involved in its use.
3. Specific conditions to on-line courses appear below:
1. Any University faculty, employee or student may seek resolution of a dispute regarding ownership or commercialization of a copyrighted work governed by this Policy by filing a written request with the Chancellor who shall forward such claims to the Chair of the University Copyright Committee.
2. The University Copyright Committee has exclusive jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding ownership or commercialization of a copyrighted work governed by this policy and make recommendations to the Chancellor.
3. If copyright questions arise in the course of another type of grievance or hearing procedure at the University, where other issues are also at stake, the hearing panel shall refer the copyright questions to the Copyright Committee, which shall then make a recommendation to the Chancellor. The Chancellor shall send a decision on the copyright questions to the hearing panel and that hearing panel will incorporate the Chancellor’s decision into the overall decision or recommendation of the hearing panel. To the extent allowed by law, any time limits existing in any university policy establishing policies and procedures for a referring authority shall be extended by the time used by the Copyright Committee from the referral through delivery of the decision.
In its discretion the Copyright Committee may conduct a hearing into the matter or may make a recommendation based upon the written record, provided that all parties to the dispute are given an opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of their respective positions. Each party shall provide the other party with a copy of any written materials submitted to the Copyright Committee simultaneously with submission of such materials to the Committee.
Any hearing will be conducted following procedures set forth by the Copyright Committee. The Copyright Committee shall maintain a record of the process including a tape recording of oral presentations, if any. No party shall have the right to be represented by counsel before the Committee, but any party may be accompanied at a Committee hearing by an advisor of his or her choosing, who shall not participate in the hearing.
1. The Copyright Committee shall report its findings and conclusions to the Chancellor in writing accompanied by both a written recommendation for disposition of the matter and the entire record within forty-five days after the materials are filed with the Committee. Provided that for good cause, the Chair of the Copyright Committee may extend the time period for such report by not more than an additional thirty days. Copies of such findings, conclusions and recommendation shall be provided to all parties.
2. The Chancellor shall issue a written decision in the matter after receipt of such findings, conclusions and recommendation within forty-five days. The Chancellor’s decision shall be final unless an appeal is permitted by The Code of the University of North Carolina.
 This provision only addresses copyright issues. It does not eliminate the need for IRB review with its associated informed consent requirements. The IRB consent language is controlling in the event of conflict with this paragraph.