Faculty Rights Tip of the Week: Who Owns My Electronic Materials?

In the wake of COVID-19, the majority of faculty members now create electronic or online content for their courses. These materials are usually placed on the web in a variety of ways, often in course management systems like Moodle or Canvas.

Occasionally, there are misunderstandings about who actually owns these materials once they are placed online.

Article 39 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ensures that faculty members retain the rights to materials they create as long as there is no “extraordinary University support” in creating those materials. Faculty must sign a separate agreement acknowledging extraordinary support and agreeing affirmatively to share their intellectual property. Article 39 applies to faculty teaching traditional classes, online classes, and in Extension for Credit.

The online nature of course materials does not change the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In other words, electronic and online materials do not become the property of the University or any third-party vendor who supplies a service to the University. To be sure, providing the course management system, or paying your regular salary does not constitute “extraordinary University support.”

As you may be deepening your use of online and remote technologies, be assured that the intellectual property you create is protected as your own in the CBA.

Please contact your campus CFA Faculty Rights representative if you feel your rights are not being upheld.