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Copyright Policy

Approved by the Board of Trustees – November 17, 2011

The Fashion Institute of Technology (“FIT”) is committed to encouraging creative work and research by its faculty, administrators, staff and students. The Copyright Policy of FIT has been adopted in this spirit. This Policy concerns the rights to intellectual property created by members of the FIT community.  It is intended to encourage innovation and excellence in art, design, scholarly research and teaching by identifying and protecting the rights of the faculty, administrators, staff, students and FIT.

 

  1.    Scope and Applicability.

This policy applies to the following categories of persons:

  •  Faculty (full-time and part-time, including visiting faculty who have a College faculty appointment and    adjunct faculty);
  •  Students (including visiting students);
  •  Other employees (full-time and part-time), including administrators and staff; and

Non-employees who participate in research or creative activity at FIT or research or creative activity carried out under the auspices of FIT, such as visiting faculty and scholars who do not have a faculty appointment.

 This Policy will apply to faculty and others who are on a paid leave from FIT and create copyrightable materials during such leave, but shall not ordinarily apply to persons on an unpaid leave of absence or copyrightable materials created during such leave.  The provisions of this Policy relating to the creation of copyrightable materials in the course of consulting activities shall be applied as if the faculty or staff member were on an unpaid leave.

2.    Faculty Ownership of Works Created at FIT

In concert with prevailing practice and long-standing tradition, FIT recognizes the faculty member as the copyright owner of his or her scholarly, creative and encoded works, including, without limitation, literary works, works of art, graphics, journal articles, web pages, media (audio, video and interactive), software and course materials (syllabi, lectures, learning activities, assessments), except as otherwise indicated by this Policy.

3.    FIT Ownership of Works Created at FIT

FIT will retain ownership of copyrightable materials, or reserve a license to such materials, in the situations listed below.  In each case, the situations listed below will apply whether such materials are in print or electronic form or other media, now in existence or hereafter arising.  In each situation where FIT retains ownership (i) the creator(s) of such materials shall retain a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free, non-assignable license to use such materials for their individual non-profit educational and research purposes; (ii) FIT may determine to make such materials available on an open-source or open-access basis or otherwise take action to make such materials widely-available as contemplated by this Policy; and (iii) FIT retains the right to modify, update or change such materials.

 a.    FIT retains a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to any material, including on-line materials, regardless of type or creator, to the extent such material is used in the title or description of an FIT course, in the syllabus of an FIT course or created for distribution or actually distributed to students in an FIT course, for all educational and research purposes.

 b.    FIT retains a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to any material created for an FIT publication, to the extent such material is not otherwise owned by FIT under this Policy.

 c.     FIT retains ownership of any material which was created making Substantial Use of College Resources, as defined below in this Policy.

 d.    FIT retains ownership of any material created by a non-faculty employee in the course of employment (including research). Examples of such work include, without limitation, administrative handbooks, public relations materials, official College web pages, policies and audio/visual recordings of College events.  

 e.    FIT retains ownership of any material created in the course of research, creative activity or other collaborative projects conducted under FIT institutional auspices (including school or department auspices) where the identity of the project resides with FIT (e.g. resulting in a publication of a school or department, curricular efforts).

 f.     FIT retains ownership of any material created in the course of a research, creative activity, or other collaborative project where development has been by a team such that the identity of the project resides with FIT rather than with particular individuals.

 g.    FIT retains ownership of any material created as the result of a research or creative project, except Traditional Works of Scholarship reporting on such results, sponsored by a governmental, corporate, non-profit or other sponsor where the contract or agreement with such sponsor imposes obligations on FIT with respect to such copyrightable materials.  With respect to Traditional Works of Scholarship reporting on the results of such a research project, FIT shall retain only those rights, if any, which are necessary for FIT to meet its express obligations under the contract or agreement with the relevant sponsor.

 h.    FIT retains ownership of any material or online course created at the direction of, or commissioned by, FIT, including those situations where adjunct faculty are specifically compensated for the creation of a new course.

 i.      FIT retains ownership of any material which is closely associated with a patent owned by FIT under FIT’s patent policy.  This provision will typically apply to any copyrightable material created to effectuate an invention (e.g. software, fashions, designs) or supplement an invention (e.g. documentation), but will not apply to Traditional Works of Scholarship (written or documentary) reporting on the research or creative project which led to the creation of such materials unless otherwise required under this Policy.

j.      FIT retains ownership of any material, in any form or media (including without limitation video or audio) which is a reproduction of an FIT course or program.  FIT will not claim ownership of the intellectual content within such reproduction.  Any commercialization by FIT of any such material shall be in accordance with this Policy. 

 4.    Substantial Use of FIT Resources

 a.    The use of FIT resources is “substantial” when it entails the use of FIT resources of a degree or nature not ordinarily made available to all faculty or students. Resources beyond those ordinarily made available can take many forms, for instance, significant FIT funding, free use of specific FIT facilities outside the classroom, the purchase of special equipment and supplies, staff labor beyond the normal scope of work for such staff or an unusual reduction of teaching service.  Routine use of classroom, office space, office equipment, library and network access are not considered substantial use. 

 b.    FIT shall approve any Substantial Use of FIT resources in advance.  Ownership of the copyright shall be assumed to be with FIT unless otherwise agreed to by the Vice President for Academic Affairs pursuant to a written request from the creator in advance. The creator of the original work may make a request to the Vice President for Academic Affairs that ownership of the work remain with him or her. Such a request can be granted at the discretion of the Vice President for Academic Affairs if it does not: (a) violate any legal obligations of or to FIT, (b) limit appropriate FIT uses of the work, (c) create a real or potential conflict of interest for the creator, and (d) otherwise conflict with FIT goals or principles.  When such a request is granted, the creator shall grant to FIT in writing a royalty-free license to use the work for its educational mission.

 5.    Student Ownership of Works Created at FIT

a.    Subject to the other relevant terms of this Policy, students shall retain intellectual property ownership of works created in the course of their academic activities at FIT, including class work, research materials, works of art or design, music and theses.  Student Work created jointly by more than one student will be owned jointly by such students.  Students shall not have ownership of work performed or created within the scope of an employment relationship with FIT or with one of its employees or work performed or created with Substantial Use of College resources. 

 b.    Students working on a project governed by a contract to which FIT is a party shall be bound by the terms of that contract.

 c.    Students who are hired to perform specific tasks that contribute to a copyrightable work have no rights to ownership of that work, regardless of the source of funds from which they are paid.

 d.    Students working collaboratively with faculty on projects that result in copyrightable work may be granted the same rights of copyright ownership as would a faculty member working collaboratively on the project. Students and faculty should establish these rights at the outset of their collaboration.

 e.    The arrangement between faculty and students should be filed with and approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the outset to prevent any conflicts later. 

 f.     If none of the above applies, students performing work compensated by FIT are subject to the provisions governing non-faculty.

 6.    Use of Outside Consultants and Independent Contractors

FIT will require that contracts with consultants and independent contractors include a provision designating all such work as work-for-hire. Students and non-faculty working outside the scope of College employment shall be considered independent contractors for such purposes. Assistance in drafting such agreements can be obtained from the Office of General Counsel.

 7.    Responsibility to Report to FIT

Creators of original work shall be responsible to notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs in a timely manner under any of the following conditions: (a) there is a Substantial Use of College resources; (b) there are unusual circumstances, such as a class working collaboratively on a project, that are likely to generate financial rewards; (c) where patents or other commercialization that require substantial cost or effort are envisaged and where the creators wish FIT to consider providing some or all of that support; or (d) the work being performed raises issues over whether it might constitute a work for hire.  If a creator is uncertain whether FIT has ownership rights or other interests in certain material, that work shall be disclosed to FIT. 

8.    Advice and Interpretation

Members of the FIT community may obtain advice on the application of this Intellectual Property Ownership Policy to their work and about restrictions on copyright ownership related to grants or other sponsored agreements from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  This advice should be sought, where possible, at the outset of the project or work.

9.    Resolution of Disputes

Persons seeking a resolution of disputes arising over the application of this Policy and the intellectual property ownership of copyrights shall submit a written request to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who shall refer the matter to an ad hoc committee comprised of at least (3) three members. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, the respective School Dean and the President of the UCE shall each designate one member of the committee when the person seeking resolution is a full-time or part-time classroom faculty member.  When the person seeking a resolution of the dispute is a non-classroom faculty member and that person works in Enrollment Management and Student Success, the committee shall be designated by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, and the President of the UCE.  If the person seeking a resolution is a non-classroom faculty member in Academic Affairs, the committee will be comprised of designees from the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Deans’ Council, and the President of the UCE.  When the dispute involves a staff member, the committee will be designated by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Human Resource Management and Labor Relations, and the President of the UCE.   The Office of the General Counsel will attend the ad hoc committee meetings to provide clarification of this policy, but will not participate in the actual recommendation noted below. If the dispute involves the work of non-faculty, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall designate a non-faculty member on the committee.

 This committee shall report its recommended decision for resolution of the dispute to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President shall render a determination in a timely manner, and such determination shall be final.

10. Table of Ownership Rights. (Illustrative Only)

 The table below summarizes the respective rights outlined in this policy.

Copyright Policy

Ownership

Scholarly, creative and encoded works, including, without limitation, literary works, works of art, graphics, journal articles, web pages, media (audio, video and interactive), software and course materials (syllabi, lectures, learning activities, assessments), not involving substantial use of College resources but created while being paid by FIT.

Faculty

Material used in the title or description of an FIT course, in the syllabus of an FIT course or created for distribution or actually distributed to students in an FIT course, for all educational and research purposes, not involving substantial use of College resources but created while being paid by FIT.

Faculty

Material created for an FIT publication, to the extent such material is not otherwise owned by FIT under this Policy

Faculty

Material created making Substantial Use of College Resources

FIT

Material created by a non-faculty employee in the course of employment (including research), e.g., administrative handbooks, public relations materials, official College web pages, policies and audio/visual recordings of College events

FIT

Material created in the course of research or other collaborative projects conducted under FIT institutional auspices (including school or department auspices) where the identity of the project resides with FIT (e.g. resulting in a publication of a school or department, curricular efforts)

FIT

Material created in the course of a research or other collaborative project where development has been by a team such that the identity of the project resides with FIT rather than with particular individuals.

FIT

Material created as the result of a research project, except Traditional Works of Scholarship reporting on such results, sponsored by a governmental, corporate, non-profit or other sponsor where the contract or agreement with such sponsor imposes obligations on FIT with respect to such copyrightable materials

FIT

Material or online course created at the direction of, or commissioned by, FIT, including those situations where adjunct faculty are specifically compensated for the creation of a new course

FIT

 

 

 

Course developed by adjunct faculty for which faculty member was specifically paid.

FIT

Material closely associated with a patent owned by FIT under FIT’s patent policy, e.g., copyrightable material created to effectuate an invention (e.g. software, fashions, designs) or supplement an invention (e.g. documentation), but not apply Traditional Works of Scholarship reporting on the research which led to the creation of such materials.

FIT

Material, in any form or media (including without limitation video or audio),  which is a reproduction of an FIT course or program. 

FIT

Student works created in the course of their academic activities at FIT, including class work, research materials, works of art or design, music and theses.

Student

Student work performed within the scope of an employment relationship with FIT or with one of its employees, or work performed with Substantial Use of College resources

FIT

Student work performed when hired to perform specific tasks that contribute to a copyrightable work.

FIT

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am a faculty member writing a textbook consisting entirely of printed textual material in the area of marketing to be published by a large academic publisher.  The work reflects years of my personal research and lecture notes from classes I have taught at FIT.  I am writing the textbook at home and in my office, using my College computer without any other resources from or through FIT.

 Does FIT retain any rights to the textbook? 

 Answer:  Your textbook would be a Traditional Work of Scholarship since it is based on your personal research and lecture notes.  Your use of the type of minimal College facilities you describe are not sufficient to give rise to an interest on the part of FIT under this policy which contemplates that all faculty will make routine use of certain limited facilities of FIT such as libraries, their offices and office equipment and minimal use of shared departmental resources.

  1. I am a faculty member in the school of art and design who teaches photography.  There is a commercial company which would like to videotape lectures by me on the subject of photography and then sell these lectures to the public via DVD and podcast.  The actual lectures would be taped outside of FIT and the audience would consist of photographers with no relationship to FIT.  I will receive an up-front amount and then royalties on sales of all lectures.  How will the Copyright Policy and/or related policies affect my ability to participate in this project?

 Answer:   Clearly, a series of lectures would constitute instructional activity under the Copyright Policy.  If the content of the lectures is not otherwise owned by FIT under Section 3 of the Copyright Policy, you should be able to enter into the proposed transaction after obtaining approval under FIT’s Conflict of Interest Policy.    If all or any portion of the lectures consists of materials which you previously handed out in an FIT class, FIT would retain a non-exclusive license to such materials under Section 3.

  1. I am a faculty member on a paid leave of absence from FIT.  During my leave, I will be conducting independent research in my field.  Will the copyrightable materials resulting from this research be covered by Copyright Policy?

 Answer:  Yes, a paid leave will be treated as though a faculty member is continuing to work at FIT and the Copyright Policy (and all other policies of FIT) would continue to apply.  With respect to any particular copyrightable materials arising in the course of your research, you would need to analyze the terms of the Copyright Policy to determine ownership and rights to such material.          

  1. I am an adjunct professor.  Does the copyright Policy apply to me?  If I only teach at FIT for one semester, will the Copyright Policy give FIT a right to my syllabus?

 Answer:  The Copyright Policy would apply to you, as an adjunct, with respect to the work you do at FIT.  The Policy would reserve a non-exclusive license for FIT to your course syllabus for educational and research purposes.  You would, of course, continue to own the copyright to the syllabus and be free to use the syllabus in any of your activities outside of FIT after your adjunct position at FIT has ended.  If, however, you received a stipend to develop a specific course, FIT would have ownership rights to your work under Section 3h.

  1. May a faculty member use representational reproductions of student work in a book or article for which the faculty member receives compensation?

 Answer:  No.  The faculty member would need to obtain written permission from the student creator. 

  1. What happens when a given work is created by more than one person?

 Answer:  Persons who would be treated as joint owners for legal purposes will also be treated as joint owners for purposes of this Policy, and each such person will have and may exercise the rights specified in this Policy. To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, such persons are encouraged to discuss and reach agreement on their rights and obligations with respect to each other before creating such works. The law concerning joint ownership is quite complicated and is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Additional information concerning this issue may be obtained from the Office if the General Counsel.

  1. Who are considered to be “students” for purposes of the Policy?

 For purposes of this Policy, “students” includes all persons enrolled in any degree or non-degree program or course at FIT.

  1. Are student-employees treated as students or staff under the Policy?

 Student-employees are treated as staff under this Policy with respect to works that they create in the course and scope of their student employment and as students with respect to works that they create in the course and scope of their student status.

 

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