Academics Contract News Professionals

Knowing Your Intellectual Property Rights

Dear Colleagues,

Your UUP Buffalo Center Chapter would like to remind you of your rights when it comes to your course materials and the distribution of those materials, whether they be in printed or digital format, per SUNY’s Policies.


With respect to materials used on the web for instruction, under the current SUNY policy, copyright ownership is treated no differently than materials produced for the classroom. That is, you own the copyright under the academic work-for-hire exception embedded in SUNY’s copyright policy.

Alternatively, SUNY and members may enter into work-for-hire written agreements relating to materials produced for on-line use in which the parties may agree to vest copyright in either SUNY or the members and to provide for related licenses.

This means that all members materials are protected by law and CANNOT be distributed WITHOUT PERMISSION from the Member Course Developer. This holds true even if a chair, Dean or other university administrator wants those course materials shared. Supervisors have NO RIGHT to share these materials if the member has not provided written permission to do so. Should employees or administrators distribute course materials WITHOUT the members course developer’s permission, they may find themselves in legal jeopardy. Accordingly, unless there is a separate work for hire agreement in place, members own the copyright for materials they develop. We also strongly advise everyone to use caution when using materials developed by another member, and to take steps to ensure they have the right or appropriate permission to use or publish the materials.
For more information about the SUNY Policy, members should see:
UUP has also put together several informational posters of Member Intellectual Property Rights that all might find helpful. Please post or disseminate the three flyers as appropriate so that everyone is informed of this policy to protect our faculty member’s work.

               Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights

               Protect Course Materials

               Special Intellectual Property Bulletin

Should you have questions about the SUNY policy, you can discuss it further with SUNY Counsel.

In Solidarity,

Ken Kern
Chapter President
UUP Buffalo Center