One of the best things I heard during this week’s Open Access events came from University of Michigan’s Associate General Counsel, Jack Bernard:
“Copyright doesn’t graft well onto – what’s that term? Oh, yeah – reality.“
In the spirit of Open Access Week 2012, this post will highlight key points from Melissa Levine and Jack Bernard’s presentation, What’s in it for You? The U-M Copyright Policy (Standard Practice Guide 601.28) from Tuesday, October 23, 2012.
In September 2011 U of M adopted some changes to its copyright policy – while the policy remains philosophically the same, the revisions are meant to clarify old points.
Namely, “faculty control the copyright associated with their scholarly works – articles, monographs, books. The real innovation…is that the University accepts responsibility for archiving and preserving the scholarly work of all faculty.”
Think of it as a pie (credit where credit is due – Jack used this metaphor).
Faculty, and University employees (including students employed by the University) keep most of the copyright to their own work – but a slice of that stays with the University. That slice is the preservation part – the University can archive work in a repository like Deep Blue (with limits on access – it wouldn’t necessarily be open for the world to see).
Ultimately, the whole point of the University’s copyright policy is to promote the academic enterprise, not stifle it.
There is a good overview of who owns the copyright in scholarly works here.
That said, copyright is dicey, and the devil is in the details. If you have questions about those devilish details, contact the Copyright Office at email@example.com or Melissa Levine, the Lead Copyright Officer, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Onward, scholarly pursuits!