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Bethel University Intellectual Property Policy

 January 16, 2001
General Policy on Intellectual Property
(Approved by TLTR, Approved by FPPC 4/6/01)

I.    Introduction

New emphases on classroom research and on-line courses may allow a faculty member to simultaneously teach, carry out classroom research, and publish courses, course materials, data, scholarly papers and creative works to the World Wide Web. New questions thus arise as boundaries of teaching, research, creativity, and publication are becoming much less well defined.  Even more relevant is the possibility of the movement of some faculty work from the traditional educational venues (Campus classrooms, research labs, theaters, studios and to the commercialization of educational materials.

Bethel University encourages its administration, faculty, librarians, staff, and students to engage in scholarly activities that support and further the College Mission.  Faculty members should aspire to break new ground in discovery, invention and application. The Bethel faculty member's commitment extends to full participation in the larger community of scholars, active involvement in learned societies, publication of scholarly books, essays and reviews, and the development and publication of on-line educational resources and courses. The school supports such scholarship with released time, equipment, clerical assistance and travel funds, as resources are available. While Bethel does not have any vested interest in patents faculty may develop out of this research and while such patents remain the sole property of the individual involved, the ownership of educationally related materials is more complicated. The following policy governs this complex arena.

II.    Definitions of terms

The following definitions concern creative works about which the question of copyright or patent ownership by the faculty and/or the institution may arise.

Creative works (for the purposes of this policy) are academic, artistic, or scholarly works, products or inventions of potential commercial value (thus involving issues of economic benefit and control), which are generated by faculty members. The production of these works may involve the use of ordinary or extraordinary institutional resources.

Ordinary resources: The general resources of time, salary, staff assistance, travel funds, internal grants, release time, equipment, etc… available to any faculty member.

Extra-ordinary resources: Allocations of resources, either qualitatively or quantitatively, beyond those available to faculty under normal circumstances.

Economic Benefit: Income, potential income, or other benefits that might accrue to an individual or an institution through the publication and/or marketing of a work.  Examples might range from traditional text- based publications to supplemental course materials, to entire on-line courses.

Control: The legal right to say what happens with and to a work.  Issues of authorship and ownership are intertwined in control.

Creative works can be divided into the following categories:

Employee initiated works

These works, resulting from the faculty member's personal initiative, are a part of the way the faculty member, while fulfilling his or her contractual responsibilities, grows professionally as part of both the Bethel community and the larger community of scholars and higher education professionals. Such works typically include scholarly publications, books, plays, poems, music compositions, works of art, textbooks, anthologies, and on-line scholarly, professional or educational materials and publications, and course-packs, supplemental instructional materials in any format, manuscripts, musical compositions, web pages, and computer software.
There are two general categories of such works:

  • Works supported by ordinary resources
  • Works supported by extra-ordinary resources.
Bethel (Employer) initiated works

Works, resulting from the initiative of the institution, that utilize an individual's (e.g. Faculty, Staff, Administrator, or Student) expertise and time to produce materials and resources.

  • Works supported by ordinary resources: Examples might include a work commissioned by a college publication, a performance, and materials resulting from the normal teaching process, e.g. syllabi, study guides, course packs, supplemental instructional materials in any format, manuscripts, musical compositions, web pages, and computer software. 
  • Creative Works for hire: Works produced by an employee or independent contractor at Bethel's request, which are fully funded and supported by Bethel.

In summary
The above taxonomy is characterized by differences along three dimensions; initiative for the work, allocation of resources to the work, and benefit from and control of the work.

The table below summarizes this information:

  Economic Benefit and Control of Work
 Employee-initiated work
 Employee-initiated work
extra-ordinary Employee/Negotiable
Bethel-initiated work
  ordinary Negotiable
Bethel-initiated work
Bethel or Bethel Contracted
extra- ordinary Bethel University/ Negotiable

III. Policy Principles

  • Faculty normally retain full copyright privileges, economic benefit, and control of work that is not initiated by the institution and that uses only those types and/or quantities of resources that are generally available to all faculty.
  • The institution normally holds the copyright for materials that are deemed works for hire, are initiated by the institution, or that use types and/or quantities of resources not generally available to all faculty. However, for each such work, control and any economic benefit MUST be individually negotiated in advance. Failure to negotiate such agreements in advance will result in a default 50:50 control and economic benefit split between the institution and faculty member if/when such benefits accrue.
  • Works that are created due to the normal expectations stated by promotion/tenure policy shall not be considered as works for hire.
  • In the event of use of types and/or quantities of resources beyond those generally available to all faculty, the extent of such use shall be considered in determining the level of equitable sharing of any revenues.

IV. Policy Administration

  • Intellectual property rights issues and policies shall be administered by the Office of the Provost (College or Seminary).