Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

University updates SPG addressing copyright ownership

The standard practice guide that addresses ownership of copyrighted works has been updated to clarify that the copyright of most scholarly works belongs to the faculty members who create the works.

"Because the university is committed to academic freedom, it strives — despite the legal default — to place copyright with the creators of scholarly, academic and artistic works," the preamble of the revised policy reads. "Moreover, this policy encourages and does not limit the rights and abilities of people to make 'fair use' or other lawful uses of copyrighted works."

U.S. copyright law grants the university the copyright in copyrighted works authored by employees of the university. Because of this legal default, the university, through the revised policy, "transfers any copyright it holds in scholarly works to the faculty who authored those works" with some exceptions.

The policy, adopted in 2002, also has been significantly shortened and simplified. The updated policy has been approved by Provost and Executive Vice President Phil Hanlon and Vice President for Research Stephen Forrest.

To read the complete SPG, No. 601.28, go to spg.umich.edu/pdf/601.28.pdf.