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IPR and teaching?

(10 Posts)
museumum Mon 15-Feb-16 22:14:24

I'm not actually an academic but I do some teaching of post grad modules as an "industry expert".
I had to agree with the uni that all my teaching materials would become copyright of the university, which I thought I was ok with.
But now I'm wondering.... obviously I'd never lift the materials directly but often I'm asked to give a talk or training on my topic to other groups nothing to do with the uni and the way I teach certain topics and the exercises and examples I use are the same ones I put in my course materials. Is it a breach of copyright to continue to do this?
Or if in future I'm asked to teach the same topic at another uni can I use my own ideas again? Or have I just sold them to this specific uni? (If so, they're certainly not paying me enough!!)

Do academics generally reuse their own teaching notes if they change employers and end up teaching the same topics?

fluffikins Tue 16-Feb-16 16:39:26

No idea on the legality but I certainly reuse material if I do a guest lecture somewhere else

impostersyndrome Tue 16-Feb-16 20:23:11

That sounds totally unfair. This is your intellectual property (putting aside the daft idea that anyone could teach from your notes). I'd write to them and question this if I were you; even more so as you're not in their employ. Perhaps ask this question on the legal matters or employment matters threads too?

And I've done guest lectures at dozens of universities and never encountered this. In fact, I refuse to leave my PowerPoint on any computer other than my on. If I'm being generous, I'll give them a link to a relevant publication I've written, along with a succinct summary.

MarasmeAbsolu Tue 16-Feb-16 20:51:56

our guest lecturers are asked to provide a pdf version of their slides for the students.
If they are invited to teach a key part of the curriculum (not own research seminar), they are asked to leave their slides for the use of the university, and future staff teaching on the course (once they have checked for all copyright issues with pictures). But they can use these slides themselves once they have left the uni (shared copyright)

museumum Tue 16-Feb-16 20:56:37

Thanks. I think my letter of agreement just said "copyright" not "sole or exclusive" or "shared". But I think it would be reasonable of me to assume they mean shared.

DeoGratias Tue 16-Feb-16 21:49:46

I advise on this stuff.

If you have given ownership of the materials to the university then you cannot use them for any other purpose unless the contract says so.

I give a lot of law talks and I always refuse to hand over copyright as I use the same notes or similar notes for lots of different occasions - including notes on copyright law. If I gave copyright to one provider then I could not use those notes for anyone else.

If the agreement says you assign copyright - then that means they own it and you cease to own it and you cannot use it for any purpose except their course. There are no exceptions or ifs and buts to this. It is like selling a house outright. If instead you keep ownership and it says they have a non exclusive licence to use it that is like leasing a room in your house- you still own the house. I expect the agreement instead says you fully assign all copyright to them. It is not unlawful to ask for that and plenty of institutions do,.

You mention ideas - there is nothing to stop you writing new notes and talking about the same topic. So I could sit down with a blanik sheet of paper and write a new paper on copyright and use that as I am not copying the words used. there is copyright in the expression of ideas but not in the ideas themselves although it is a heap more work to write stuff from scratch.

impostersyndrome Wed 17-Feb-16 17:33:22

I of course defer to DeoGradias' expertise. I still think that they've made an unfair contract with you. Anyway, what will they do if you reuse the materials (assuming they find out)? Sue you?

museumum Wed 17-Feb-16 19:22:18

I think it said "all course materials". I'm happy after DeoGradias's message then to define "materials" as the actual physical word doc or ppt but to feel free to use my own ideas and ways of framing issues or explaining things again in future (and of course very different) documents or slides.

Tbh I don't think they'd do anything in relation to what I do (use the same basic structure/content for trainings). I expect what they don't wanted me taking the course content wholesale to a competitor university as the module is quite a unique selling point in this MSc.

museumum Wed 17-Feb-16 19:28:02

Thanks for all the input btw. When you're not an actual academic there aren't a lot of ways you can canvas opinion on this sort of thing. Otherwise I'd have probably questioned the contract. I would in future.

impostersyndrome Wed 17-Feb-16 20:22:41

Yes come to us next time grin. We'll look after you. The thing is, I'm really possessive about my IP, though equally the biggest champion of open access. The point is that I decide who uses it and on what terms, not a money grabbing university.

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