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MU Faculty Council reviews intellectual property regulations

Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 8:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Ownership of intellectual property created by college faculty members can be a sticky issue, and the MU Faculty Council discussed possible changes to such rules at their Thursday meeting.

The university now owns the copyright in the following categories:

  • Works that are commissioned for university use by the university
  • Works that are created by employees if the production of the materials is a specific responsibility of the position for which the employee is hired
  • Sponsored works, or works resulting from grants (but not if the production of the copyrighted work is ancillary to the purpose of the grant)
  • Works created with the use of substantial university resources

Chairwoman Leona Rubin said that under current rules, faculty can negotiate with department chairs for copyright ownership. Amended rules would leave some departmental control but would also add more levels of approval.

Rebecca Johnson of the nursing school questioned who would own the copyright of journal articles and other published works that are required of some faculty.

“How much of that work, just by the fact that I’m expected to publish, is the university’s property?” she asked.

The possible changes will be discussed further at the next Intercampus Faculty Council meeting and the May 4 MU Faculty Council meeting. The UM System Board of Curators would make any final decision.

Also at the meeting:

  • Following the council’s March 4 vote of support for domestic partner benefits, Rubin said Chancellor Brady Deaton is looking into other ways to provide benefits for employees’ domestic partners. Deaton's goal, according to Rubin, is to extend more “soft benefits” to domestic partners, which could include access to the MU Student Recreation Complex, Ellis Library and other activities on campus that currently restrict benefits to spouses.
  • The MU Faculty Council readdressed UM's proposed academic integrity statement. Council members again expressed concerns with the wording of the document, which will be addressed at the next Intercampus Faculty Council meeting.

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