Copyright law and distance education: Who owns the copyright to the online course?
T. Stephen Dubusky, Regent University, United States
Regent University . Awarded
This article discusses the copyright law, its sources, provisions, infringement and fair use.
The Internet affects virtually every aspect of life in the United States, including education. Recently, schools have begun providing online distance education programs. A question was raised: who owns the copyright to the online course? Universities claim the courses are works made for hire, the rights being held by the school. Professors claim they themselves hold rights to the courses they have created.
The question is answered by determining how much influence the university had on the creation of the program. Course work is the professor's livelihood. Generally, the professor hold the copyrights to the works they create. The unauthorized use of a professor's copyrighted work usually constitutes copyright infringement, i.e., theft. However, if the university contributes significantly to the course's creation and continued use, there are certain instances where it may lay claim to its rights. In an attempt to avoid the conflict, universities and their faculties have begun drafting contracts that will hopefully defuse arguments before they begin.
Dubusky, T.S. Copyright law and distance education: Who owns the copyright to the online course?. Master's thesis, Regent University.
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