November 16-17, 2000

ITEM 109-103-R1100Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual: Ownership of Electronic Course Material (Proposed New Policy)


Ownership of Electronic Course Material

1. General Policy and Coverage.

a. Any electronic course materials created or developed by employees of the Montana University System, either in connection with their assigned duties or by the use of the System's facilities, shall be considered the property of the University System. Routine information gathering relating to the substantive content of a course or the use of the campus library shall not by itself constitute use of the System's facilities for purposes of this policy.

b.This policy applies to electronic course material whether or not it was, is or may be eligible for copyright or patent.

c. Activities and materials covered by this policy are thereby excluded from the coverage of Policy 401.2 (Patent) and Policy 401.3 (Copyright).

2. Division of Income.

a. A campus shall retain 100% of the net income from electronic course material developed by an employee at the express direction of the employer or in return for specified payments or other consideration. In all other cases the net income shall be divided, 50 percent to the employee and 50 percent to the campus at which the developer is employed.

b. Net income, for the purposes of this policy, means gross income minus costs of development and promotion, realized from the sale or licensing of the electronic course material.

3. Variance by Contract.

a. This policy may be varied by a written contract. Such contracts may be between the University System and the employee or they may also involve an outside sponsor that desires to maintain certain rights in materials it is paying the University System employee to develop.

b. A campus chancellor or a president may approve a contract that either reduces the University System's ownership rights or reduces the University System's share of net income if, in the chancellor or president's judgment, the contract is in the best interests of the University System. In each such instance where the University System's ownership rights are reduced or the University System's share of net income is reduced to below 50%, the chancellor or president shall inform the commissioner of the contract and shall indicate the reason for approving it.

4.              Relinquishment of University Rights.

a. The University System may for fair value and upon the approval of a chancellor or president relinquish rights to electronic course material to the developer or any other person or entity. Such a right may be relinquished for no consideration only if the president or chancellor concludes that there is not a likelihood of the campus benefiting from the retention of the right in question.

b. Any agreement relinquishing such rights shall retain for the University System a perpetual, royalty fee right to use, reproduce, and revise without restriction the material for the University System's own educational or research purposes, unless the president or chancellor concludes that such a clause is not in the campus's best interests and documents that conclusion in writing.

5. Patent and Copyright. All employees who develop electronic course material shall assist the University System to secure and protect a patent or copyright on the material.

6. Limitation on Use Outside the University System.

a. The employee who creates or develops the electronic course material subject to this policy may not use the material in conjunction with teaching conducted on behalf of any entity other than the Montana University System unless prior permission is granted in writing by the a campus chancellor, president or the Commissioner of Higher Education.

b. This limitation applies to the specific electronic format of the course and does not limit the employee's right to use facts, theories, opinions or other items of substantive course content in another setting.