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This topic contains 56 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  RabidChipmunk 12 years, 3 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #4336

    jediboy
    Participant

    Hola,

    While attending college at LYIT / UU / and NWIFHE I have been told time and time again, that any material submitted as coursework, is copyright of the college?

    First of all, I think this is bluff. But before I begin my anti-establishment rant, I’ll pose the following questions.

    If I develop a piece of unique code and patent/copyright it, and then submit it as coursework, do I ‘win’ (and by win, I mean beat the system?)

    OR.

    If I develop a concept for a game, (whilst at University), submit it as course work, leave college, 2 or 3 years down the road develop that concept into a game.
    Do I end up getting RUGBY-TACKLED by University of Ulster Hitmen-style lawyers, and taken to the cleaners???

    If anyone out there has some concrete links on where I could read up on this, so I know where I stand, I would be much obliged.

    Furthermore, if anyone knows a method where this form of CREATIVE-Hijacking (thats what me and my mates at the ground-level call this theft) could be ousted once and for all, that’s great too.

    I just don’t understand what possible argument a college/uni/tech could have for this. At the end of the day, as students, we pay fees.

    We (our fees, taxes, etc.) employ the lecturers to teach us.

    So how can they take our cash, and our ideas?

    Hope I haven’t stirred up a hornet’s nest…

    -B

  • #22900

    gizmo
    Participant

    While I don’t have any links to the relevant material I can say that yes this is true. Its not usually widely discussed around campus but those in the know have always said that project/course work remains the copyright of DCU. However from what I have heard there has never been a case where the university has failed to relinquish this copyright if the student wishes to continue work on it once leaving college…

    Personally I have always assumed its similar to the agreements signed with software companies upon employment whereby anything you develop remains the copyright of your employer as they deem that you have gained the skills to develop that code thanks to them. Obviously this seems a little unfair since its a institution whose aim it is the teach us this material but I’m sure there could be a different reason for it…

  • #22901

    Lynchman
    Participant

    I’ve heard of graduates from an art school in vancouver had to buy back their work so they could use them. I think its all covered in whatever paper work you sign at the start, but only applies to when you want ot make money, i.e portfolio’s are grand depending on the contract.

  • #22902

    Nooptical
    Participant

    I don’t remember ever signing a legally binding ‘contract’ when starting college!? Maybe my memory is just fuzzy….

    But if not, then how can the college have any legal leg to stand on should you use work you created during your course?

    But anyway, I say screw ’em. If you want to use your work, use it. *

    * – I can’t be held responsible for anyone actually taking my advice

  • #22903

    jediboy
    Participant

    Aye,

    having attended LYIT, UU Magee, and NWIFHE, I don’t ever recalling being briefed (formally) that any works submitted were copyright of the college.

    Nor do I recall every signing away my creative rights.

    I’m beginning to think its all bluff, but would still like to hear from anyone formally involved in Patents/Copyright/IP.

    Also, I take the argument above, whereby if I’m working for Sony (Some day, lads, Some day…) and I come up with a character whilst on their clock, they own the rights. Fair Enough. They are paying me to think stuff up.

    However, at college, I, the student am paying lectures to teach me, so I don’t see how that argument could transpose onto the college argument.

    I think I’ll give the department of edu a ring on Monday. might get some answers there…

    Thanks to all who replied.

  • #22906

    gus
    Participant

    Also, I take the argument above, whereby if I’m working for Sony (Some day, lads, Some day…) and I come up with a character whilst on their clock, they own the rights. Fair Enough. They are paying me to think stuff up.[/quote:5cb156ada6]Actually, I think Sony would insist on owning anything you produce should they want it: on the clock or off it; related to your job or not. The major multinational at which I did a placement certainly insisted on my signing a contract which supposedly gave them rights to anything I produced during my time there.

  • #22907

    jediboy
    Participant

    Gus:

    I agree with you. If I’m on the clock for someone that’s paying me cash, and I’ve signed a contract, then I have no problems with them owning my ideas.

    My query was with the ownership of material produced at or for college coursework….

    Just for those wondering, I dropped the Union of Students of Ireland’s legal department an email. So I should hear something concrete from them. Will let ya’s know what they have to say….

    -B

  • #22910

    obscure
    Participant

    This concept has certainly been around a long time. My sister’s coursework was kept as they wanted to use it in exhibitions to promote the school to future students (which I think is the main purpose). That was back in the 70s.

    If you signed an application form it almost certainly included terms and conditions. Some of those could easily have been an assignment of rights. As always the best thing to do is to go talk to your tutor and start to find out if it wil be possible to get these rights back in the future. If not then you just learned a valuable lesson regarding IP rights.

  • #22911

    Steph
    Participant

    If you think the situation *might* turn ugly about this topic in your particular case, don’t talk your tutor (just yet).

    Get a copy of the enrolment form (or any Uni form) you signed, full copy (front and back in case there’s T&C in font size 0.5 at the back, you know what I mean) from the Uni records’ office (although I don’t know if you have a right to this) and then check the small print for any clause pertaining to IP. If you have the means and the time, get counsel to run through these for you.

    As Obscure stated, it is likely that the forms do include an assignment clause, which would give the University title to anything you produce in the context of Uni work/course work. In research-heavy disciplines (e.g. biotech), this is often implemented so that the Uni can ‘sell’ the research results (with full title to it) to private companies against $$$ from those to fund the research in the first place.

    Once you have full knowledge of the extent of the assignment clause (i.e. just course work, or also for example ‘semi-related’ mod development in your free time, that may have something to do with your course-work AI algo), then approach your tutor informally. You should know that no assignment clause purporting to assign ‘future’ IP (that you will eventually create during the course) can ever be enforced – the clause only ever applies to the IP you have created once it exists.

  • #22913

    mal
    Participant

    > I think Sony would insist on owning anything you produce should they want it

    When I was programming games for Sony in London ( about 5 or or so years ago, in the days of the PS1 ), I was also helping develop a board / card game for a local company ( http://www.dealmein.com, the “Game In Progress” section will give you a good idea of the game: Scrabble ( everyone knows this game ), with Cards ( language independant ) )

    Before I signed up, I spoke to them about the game, how it wouldn’t be similar to the work that I was doing, and how it wouldn’t affect my working day ( ie too many late nights at the computer ), and got an additional, simple clause in my contract to cover it’s development.

    It’s best to be up front… if it’s something computer related that you have an interest in, then it can be a good thing. If it’s something that could be considered competition in the future ( eg working for a Physics middleware company, and also helping with coding the open-source ODE physics engine) then it’s probably less of a good thing.

    Mal

  • #22914

    omen
    Participant

    The reason that work done in uni is copyright of the uni is that you probably will have used the university’s resources to create the material. Its the same way that anything you produce while working is copyright of the company you work for. I remeber when doing our 4th yr projects in DCU talk of that came up and there was a change in thinking at that time. I think it went something like, if you want to take your project further once you leave uni, you could talk to the tutor at the start of the project and a clause would be put in writing. I think as long as your upfront about it they’re okay about it, unless of course they think you’re going to make millions, then they’ll want a cut. Which in fairness, I think is fair as they were the ones that taught you the skills…

  • #22918

    Pete
    Participant

    I think Omen is right, the college could argue that the work was created in their labs on their property using their resources based on training by their tutors. I recall chatting to the course co-ordinaor when I studied in Dublin and he did state that the college owned all of the work produced there buy students, but if it was a likely scenario that the student could make some money off a short film or whatever, the college would usually waive its rights.

  • #22921

    DeeK
    Participant

    I have advised two Irish colleges on this matter, both in relation to the terms and conditions applicable to students embarking on postgrads, as it happens. In one case while the college believed that it owned the IP of work created by students it transpired that the terms and conditions (which looked like a bad cut and paste job) were defective. In another case, while the ts & cs were a little better, it turned out that the student never saw the ts &cs before enrolling thus making it very difficult to support the college’s contention that it owned the students’ IP and that the students had signed up to this as a condition of participating in the course.

    So the lesson is (a) read the fine print before enrolling in a class; (b) if the rights mean something to you it may pay to use a lawyer to investigate whether you did, in fact, assign your rights – as the colleges do not always get things right and may claim to own something that they do not in fact own and (c) very often colleges will agree to give you a written waiver or will transfer the rights back to you even if they do own the rights, often for a nominal amount – but you should ask for this before you start making money!

  • #22922

    jediboy
    Participant

    Thanks lads, I’m really enjoying seeing this debate thrashed out, or at least some light shed on this grey-area.

    With respect to “Omen’s” argument about the college claiming that a college/uni would claim that the works in question were created using their resources, and the skills taught by their lecturers, I would in turn say back that

    I have paid fees to attend college. I, and other students like me, have paid for the resources that we use. So I don’t see that as being a fair argument (by the college, not by Omen).

    And as for a lecturer proposing that (s)he has rights to a students works because they taught the students the underlying skillset, I think thats just plain loco. My (and other students) pay the teachers salary via Tax. They get paid during the summer, when the classrooms are empty, etc., so they can’t seriously hope to swindle a further bursary from students works.

    To give more detail relating to my works in question, it was part of an MSc. but I never received any research funding or bursary, so I don’t see how the Uni would claim that a large MNC has the rights to my research findings, as they never gave ME a dime. Nor did the college. (I think my project manager bought me a cup of tea once…do ya’s think that could be considered project sponsorship…;)

    And in all the years of college I have amassed, I have never been briefed, formally or otherwise, about the rights, patents, IP of works.

    Looking forward to hearing more from ya’s…

    -B

  • #22923

    omen
    Participant

    I have paid fees to attend college. I, and other students like me, have paid for the resources that we use. So I don’t see that as being a fair argument (by the college, not by Omen).
    [/quote:daa4b49cb8]
    And yet, you haven’t paid for any of the software licences or hardware that you are using. You have paid to use their resources to do projects to be submitted to the uni. You have NOT paid to use their resources for your own means, and that is exactly what you are talking about doing. Using the university’s licence of Visual Studio, Photoshop, etc.. to develop YOUR work. They own the licence, they own the work. Anything bad that comes out of the work, its their licence. You see my point.

    And in all the years of college I have amassed, I have never been briefed, formally or otherwise, about the rights, patents, IP of works. [/quote:daa4b49cb8]
    And I bet if you went and quoted that arguement, they’d be very quick to point you to the documents that are freely available that detail the exact definitions of what you do and don’t own from uni work. Rather than wonder about it, its just safest to ask someone in a position who knows and find out now.

  • #22924

    DeeK
    Participant

    In your first post you said you were told that the work you did was copyright of the college. Have you checked out their website to see the IP policy ts and cs? The factors mentioned in some of the posts may be relevant as to why a college formulates a policy of ownership (use of resources etc.) but what applies to your own case is a matter of what the terms of the policy say, and whether it forms part of your contract that you made (ie payment of fees in return for eduction). So rather than setting out what they paid for or didnt you should check out the IP policy terms and conditions.

  • #22925

    omen
    Participant

    As i said in my edited post, jsut ask the uni what the rules are….its so much easier…

  • #22926

    Skyclad
    Participant

    So I don’t see that as being a fair argument (by the college, not by Omen). [/quote:bde58a1d61]
    You seem to be mistaking fair with legal. If your arrangement with the college stipulates that they are the legal owners of any property you develop, they own it, and if it doesnt, then you will retain ownership of it. Your personal opinions of the way it should be are irrelevant.

  • #22927

    RonanHayes
    Participant

    I didnt submit my full final year project because of such clauses, while my supervisor ensured me that the college wouldnt take control of it, I was willing to let it have the potential opportunity to do so.

    Instead I provided a scattering of 58 demos, and video footage, unfortunately I sacrificed my college degree for my own personal project. In hind sight its best to avoid doing so, but I still got a good degree even after submitting a project I was not 100% happy with (I would have prefered to submited the full working games engine as opposed to the elements that made it up)

    Another friend, simply stated in their Thesis that they used X Libraries all of which were his own work, and hence got around submitting the code for the libraries by saying that.

    Its your call, but the college owns the rights, you use their PC’s their Network, Their Resources, Their Professional Guidance, and most importantly Their Seal of Approval. When all is done they are more than entitled to recoup those expenses anyway they can. I know most colleges wont go after your project, but certain ones will.. is your college one of these?

  • #22928

    gizmo
    Participant

    Interesting….but what if you use your own PC for all your coding and MAX work? Technically the only claim they have to your FYP now is that they gave you the knowledge with which to do it in the first place… :?

  • #22929

    Skyclad
    Participant

    The only claim they have is the fact that you are in a legally binding contract, which is all they need. What they gave you is also irrelevant as long as they fulfilled their contractual obligations too. What facilities you used, be they college or not, will be either defined by the contract, or not relevant to the contract (assuming it is properly written).

    And just in case it came to court, do you have full licences for all the software you used in generating the project?

  • #22930

    gizmo
    Participant

    Ah yes, the contracts…

    *hides*

    Well I was going to say yes regarding the licences until I saw

    :shock:

    EDIT: Actually just noticed this …my answer is now yes!

    :D

  • #22932

    peter_b
    Participant

    i know thats the way it works in ucc. Again to quote pete and omen, you built it with their resources etc, skills they thought you on college time so its theres. so its likely u used ms word to write docs (ucc license), ms studios to build and compile (ucc license, student license at that) etc.

    As to whether the university would sue i dont know, if it was worth money to them they could, coz lets face it they’ve got alot more money for solictors. although it would want to be something like you designed a next-gen console in your final year :)

  • #22935

    Nooptical
    Participant

    I still don’t remember signing any contract in college. I remember signing documents such as “Proper use of email” etc. But not a contract with T&Cs or anything.

    It seems to be hit & miss depending on the college really.

  • #22937

    omen
    Participant

    I didn’t sign anything either. However, once you agree to study at a university, you abide by the rule of the university. One of those rules is the IP rule. I don’t know how this is legally invoked, but i know it has substance.

    I reckon its more for things like database and web dev, much more viable for uni projects to be sale-able.

  • #22938

    jediboy
    Participant

    And yet, you haven’t paid for any of the software licences or hardware that you are using. You have paid to use their resources to do projects to be submitted to the uni. You have NOT paid to use their resources for your own means, and that is exactly what you are talking about doing. Using the university’s licence of Visual Studio, Photoshop, etc.. to develop YOUR work. They own the licence, they own the work. Anything bad that comes out of the work, its their licence. You see my point.
    [/quote:7cc3b92cfc]

    I paid fees. I pay tax. All of which puts those resources (hardware & software) into Colleges/Uni’s. My college was built by the taxpayer for the taxpayer.

    Ya know the way the U.S. Military uses the taxpayers money for R&D? And after a while, some projects can be de-classified and put into the public domain (in similiar fashion to the way the web was born), I think this may be a stronger argument.

    I don’t know about the rest of the forum members, but I didn’t study at a private college/uni.

    What do you think of this perspective? Am I just wishful thinking?

    (And yes, I have emailed LYIT, & UU Magee Student Unions about this matter, and they haven’t replied yet…)

  • #22939

    jediboy
    Participant

    You seem to be mistaking fair with legal. If your arrangement with the college stipulates that they are the legal owners of any property you develop, they own it, and if it doesnt, then you will retain ownership of it. Your personal opinions of the way it should be are irrelevant.
    [/quote:e8ddf2c1e8]

    Well I’m not going to get caught up into a debate about the degrees of “fairness” and whether democracy itself works or not….

    However, if a law is perceived by a group of individuals [students, in this instance] to be totally taking the p*ss, then it should be brought to the attention of the people who could lobby to amend it. (Union of Students of Ireland [whom I’ve emailed about this matter also, no reply…]).

    Maybe I’m being too idealistic about this?

    And Skyclad, I’ve been digging out every piece of paper I signed at LYIT & UU Magee, and the only legal documents that I have are Acceptable Usage Policy of College Email (No Porn, Offensive Content, etc.) Cheers for that tip though…

  • #22940

    jediboy
    Participant

    Its your call, but the college owns the rights, you use their PC’s their Network, Their Resources, Their Professional Guidance, and most importantly Their Seal of Approval. When all is done they are more than entitled to recoup those expenses anyway they can. I know most colleges wont go after your project, but certain ones will.. is your college one of these?[/quote:47aece83bc]

    I hate to keep coming back to the same point, but where-oh-where did my fees/tax go? UU Magee cleaned me for near 3,000 euro in fees, for my MSc.

    So although I used their hardware and software to develop prototypes, Id didn’t get to take their 3DS MAX licenses and Pentium 4’s home with me when I finished.

    So why can’t it be like an amicable divorce, they get to keep their stuff, and I get to keep mine.

    Of course they can visit my thesis/prototypes on weekends… :D

  • #22941

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    Havok Steve is the man who’d surely know…

  • #22942

    jediboy
    Participant

    I didn’t sign anything either. However, once you agree to study at a university, you abide by the rule of the university. One of those rules is the IP rule. I don’t know how this is legally invoked, but i know it has substance.[/quote:391cd74830]

    Wouldn’t there be some form of onus on the college to properly highlight and inform the students of this practise?

    And if they didn’t disclose or failed to inform their ‘customers’ (I’m not strictly talking about colleges at this point, I’m referring to services like Banks etc. in general) then surely, they (the college/service provider) haven’t a leg to stand on?

    Just dropped Mary Hanafin an email in the Dept. of Edu, so I’ll let ya’s know what she has to say regarding the matter (if she replies…)

  • #22943

    jediboy
    Participant

    Kyoto,

    Do you have an email address or username for Steve from Havok? Is there a method within this forum to send him a link to this thread?

    Cheers,
    B!

  • #22944

    feral
    Participant

    When I was doing my FYP in CS at Trinity, I remember both myself and a few other students looking for the answer to this question.

    My final year project supervisor told me that I retained the copyright and the IP for my final year project. The supervisors of the other students who asked the same question said the same thing.

    My supervisor was very definite about this.

    That said, I didn’t get anything in writing. However, I also did not sign, or otherwise agree to any contract – to the best of my knowledge – signing away my rights.

    As I understand it, I have to be aware I am making a contract for it to be legally binding (although IANAL).

    As a result of this, I assume I do indeed own the rights to my FYP and other work I have done during university.

    This obviously only applied to undergrad work – all post grad work is usually property of the university where it’s done, afaik, as are any research patents etc that fall out of it.

    Also, I imagine even undergrad work would probably be subject to laws about derivative or collaborative works. Work where you implement a supervisors idea would probably also affect the situation.

    I’m not making a legal arguemnt here, just saying that definitely the impression I got in trinity was that students owned the rights to their own work.

    Obviously, get legal advice before turning in your multi million dollar idea as a college project!

  • #22945

    Skyclad
    Participant

    You could of course wait until after you finish college and rerelease the project then. The college would then have to prove that the project was done during college time, while you could claim that it was all done since you finished your course.

    Dave

  • #22946

    obscure
    Participant

    Maybe I’m being too idealistic about this?[/quote:8b82128f50]
    Yes.

    What you think you signed isn’t the issue. Whose resources you used or how fair you think this is isn’t the issue. The only issue is if you signed an assignment or not. IP rights can only be given away via a written assignment of rights (there is no such thing as a verbal contract for IP assignment).

    You need to know what you signed – or to be precise what the school can prove you signed ;). The only way to know that is to go to the school and ask for a copy of everything you signed. Tell them your flatmate eat beans off your paperwork because they couldn’t be bothered to wash up and you need a new copy. Once you actually know one way or the other then start to worry about it or not as the case may be.

  • #22948

    Nooptical
    Participant

    I didn’t sign anything either. However, once you agree to study at a university, you abide by the rule of the university. One of those rules is the IP rule.[/quote:5295d77d57]

    Yeah, but breaking a college “rule” doesn’t always mean you’re breaking the law. So if a college “rule” states that anything you create is theirs, yet you haven’t signed anything legally binding to that effect, then they haven’t a legal leg to stand on should you use you’re work outside college. They could, presumably, use the colleges internal disciplinary procedures should you still be attending the college at that stage.

    Thats my take on it anyway, which could be bollox because I’m not a legal type person. ;) Bottom line is to read over the document you signed(if you even signed a document) and see if it mentions anything about IP rights.

  • #22951

    gizmo
    Participant

    Hrm, another angle…Someone mentioned not submitting the code for your project which is what becomes the colleges IP. However if you designed your project around a third party engine with with you only have a licence to use, what happens then?

  • #22952

    Steph
    Participant

    Then the college only gets title to the original IP (i.e. the IP created by the student). (Supposed) provisions are no different, it’s just a matter of understanding where the student’s own IP starts and ends and same for the 3rd party IP.

    Conceptually, go back to the ‘mod’ analogy: the college gets title to the student-created portions of the mod, in which “portion” is to be understandood as both the student’s contribution in a collaborative effort, and the student’s contribution over and above in-game assets re-used by the mod (which are the 3rd party’s IP). For instance, a bot algo in CS, a map (but only insofar as the layout and any ‘proprietray’ textures (say) are concerned – again, bear in mind re-use of original in-game assets which are the 3rd party’s IP), etc, etc.

    Copyright in games (topical, but relevant to the thread) is covered in the IGDA’s IPR White Paper, at least in introductory terms, and partially authored by your truly. Go look. :wink:

  • #22953

    peter_b
    Participant

    well a girl i know who developed a project for bis this year in ucc wasent allowed to profit off her project. According to her, the college are now profiting of it, but she does get the credit for implementation, idea etc. Thats a nice how you do eh?

    But typically this rule is in the college prospecus under the section of FYP for each course. I’ve never heard of any college which didnt own the rights to the project, its like working in a job, the product produced is their property. if you dont like it dont develop on college premises\licenses.

  • #22961

    aphra
    Keymaster

    sorry coming in late on this…travelling again

    As far as I know colleges try to assert full rights over any projects developed using their equipment or while one is enroled as a student…this is pretty common practice although it has been possible for some to negotiate joint exploitation rights afterwards. Usually tho the college will want a cut of any attempt to exploit..

    Wasn’t this how and why Havok was formed? A uni research group and a PhD project…which as far as I know…and this could be urban myth…wasn’t submitted so they could keep full rights…

    Unis are very bullish about this type of stuff…

    Aphra

  • #22962

    feral
    Participant

    As far as I know colleges try to assert full rights over any projects developed using their equipment or while one is enroled as a student…[/quote:32433e7953]

    Even as an undergrad student?

    while one is enroled as a student…[/quote:32433e7953]

    All projects done while one is enroled? Not just projects submitted as coursework?

    That really doesn’t sound right to me.
    afaik, employers don’t own the work performed by an employee outside their working hours unless there is an explicit contract.

    I find it hard to believe a college could own all work done during one’s enrollment, without any sort of a contract.

    I really doubt that would work legally, without even considering the ethical dimension, which would be a big deal considering students are not even informed about this.

  • #22964

    Idora
    Participant

    That really doesn’t sound right to me.
    afaik, employers don’t own the work performed by an employee outside their working hours unless there is an explicit contract.[/quote:8cd0ae0ea4]more often than not they do, at least in my experience – especially if it’s in the same area as they’re core business, i.e. if you develop a game/game-related tech in your spare time.Some are more explicit than others in the wording.

    While I admit it can seem a bit heavy-handed (particularly if you’re ‘hobby’ is similar to your job) you can also understand companies wanting to prevent their own employees and directors from directly competing with them, especially from using company resources (equip., assets, code, time, colleagues, even contacts) to do so. And its generally the ‘core business’ non-compete principle thats at stake here (can’t speak to Unis). More often than not, if your project has a non-core business objective, than more often than not you’d be fine. But you should get it in writing beforehand.

    Have also seen co directors get exemptions/re-wordings to these sections of their contracts

    I’ve yet to see an employer get heavy with an employee over same, but then I haven’t seen anyone try to commercialise their idea…

  • #22967

    feral
    Participant
  • #22968

    Steph
    Participant
  • #22981

    Idora
    Participant

    Could you explain on what grounds the employer would assert claim to what an employee does outside work, if it isn’t in the employee’s contact that they can?[/quote:a2a757fe61]

    I did already in the post above, i.e. non-competition within the company’s core sphere of operation, and/or preventing a director (for example) working against the company’s best interests. For example, let’s say your company makes middleware, and while doing a nixer one of your employees/company directors had to use a competing middleware product. It may be construed as reflecting negatively on your and your product

    I would therefore assume that unless the rights for what you create outside work is explicitly assigned to the employer, the employer doesn’t own what you do outside work

    But as far as I know, without that clause, the employer doesn’t own what you do outside work[/quote:a2a757fe61]I’d agree with you, but always best to check. As the saying goes: Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups

    If you can cite something saying otherwise, I would be very interested to see it.[/quote:a2a757fe61]I can’t offhand, but I have come across it in Ireland in the past

    Yeah, absolutely, I do understand it, I’ve been on both sides of the fence on this one. But like all rules/laws, you have to balance the rights of the individual (employee) and the group (company).[/quote:a2a757fe61]agreed

    I’ve seen contracts that abuse the more privilaged position of the company to enforce super-restrictive contracts on potential employees.[/quote:a2a757fe61]I haven’t to be honest, but that’s just my experience. Usually, it’s not that companies are setting out to abuse power/overly restrict employees – more that they are simply trying to protect their property, goodwill, etc. and to do this they apply blanket policies. That’s not to say they wouldn’t be open to making exceptions, etc. if asked to do so

    The only contractual clause that bother me regularly is the ‘non-compete’ clause for when you leave the company. Apart from beinf difficult if not impossible to enforce, it just irks me from an ethical standpoint

  • #22992

    feral
    Participant

    If the employment/enmrolment/whatever contract repudiates the Statutory provision of (1), that’s all there is to it. No point discussing/arguing/debating the merits or equity of same any further. [/quote:1f4df716b9]

    This is consistent with what I thought.
    What I was querying was what I saw as the assertion that the employer owns IP created outside outside of the course of employment, by default, and without any mention of it in the contract.

    The law will, where necessary to give business efficacy to the agreement, imply an agreement to transfer the copyright, or a licence. The implied term must be reasonable and equitable, and it must be obvious that the parties intended it. [/quote:1f4df716b9]

    This is interesting.
    Can I conclude from this then, that
    If there is no mention of ownership of IP created outside of work
    And if the employee does not intend IP created outside of work to transfer to the employer
    Then the employee would retain ownership of the IP?

    This is consistent with what I had thought on the matter, and is the only thing I was intending to query in my other posts.

    The only contractual clause that bother me regularly is the ‘non-compete’ clause for when you leave the company. Apart from beinf difficult if not impossible to enforce, it just irks me from an ethical standpoint[/quote:1f4df716b9]

    Well, it’s a similar arguement. If your going to invest time training an employee, and exposing your methodology to them, and perhaps more importantly, introducing them to your customers, then you don’t want them leaving to a competitor and taking that competitive advantage with them.

    I imagine this is particularly important in areas such as Sales where contacts are very important.

    I do see where your coming from though, especially given that it could prevent an employee working in the field they have specialised in after their current employment is over, or if they were let go etc. That could put them in a very vulnerable position once they’ve signed.

    Surprising you dont see more of it in the games industry, actually…

    Usually, it’s not that companies are setting out to abuse power/overly restrict employees – more that they are simply trying to protect their property, goodwill, etc. and to do this they apply blanket policies. [/quote:1f4df716b9]

    I would say its that the legal departments of companies are completely paranoid about this sort of thing and will always make contracts as restrictive as they can manage to get away with.
    Eg, the legal dept, covering their own ass, says ‘it has to be this way’ and then whoever is doing the hiring can’t negociate the contract because it goes against legal’s advice.

    I also imagine, and have seen, that smaller companies tend to be a lot more flexible about this sort of thing, probably because they don’t have a detached legal team?

  • #23018

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Havok Steve is the man who’d surely know…[/quote:120f1ad1b4]

    I cannot give you a definitive authorative response on this – but it is my understanding that all undergraduate student work is their own copyright and IP, regardless of where/how is was developed. At least in my experience that is how it is treated.

    For postgraduate students the situation is often different due to the specifics of their funding. In most cases it is safe to assume that the Uni owns the IP – even where funding comes from the govt. etc. most of these grants have an explicit IP assignment to the University.

    I have seen many examples where a student’s final year work was in collaboration with a company e.g. doing specific work for that company and then submitting this as a thesis (in particular for night course students). This is encouraged by the Universities and I’ve never heard of any additional legal treatment necessary to ensure that IP ownership faciliates this.

    I will try to find out more on this…

    [edit: BTW this refers really only to TCD – I’m not sure about other Unis, and as always check first with your Uni/supervisor etc.]

    Steve

  • #23019

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Wasn’t this how and why Havok was formed? A uni research group and a PhD project…which as far as I know…and this could be urban myth…wasn’t submitted so they could keep full rights…

    Aphra[/quote:7599931c4c]

    Urban myth. All research results from the Govt. funded research projects in Uni are the IP of the College by default. Companies wishing to exploit that research directly will negotiate terms with the Uni. The specifics on what is IP, what is (c) and what is commercializable without needing an IP assignment from the Uni is down to the specifc cases.

    Steve

  • #23024

    DeeK
    Participant

    Havok Steve is the man who’d surely know…[/quote:e8ff7a7b8d]

    I cannot give you a definitive authorative response on this – but it is my understanding that all undergraduate student work is their own copyright and IP, regardless of where/how is was developed. At least in my experience that is how it is treated.

    For postgraduate students the situation is often different due to the specifics of their funding. In most cases it is safe to assume that the Uni owns the IP – even where funding comes from the govt. etc. most of these grants have an explicit IP assignment to the University.[/quote:e8ff7a7b8d]

    This would match up with the fact that in both matters where I acted for universities involved retention of IP rights at postgrad level.

    I have seen many examples where a student’s final year work was in collaboration with a company e.g. doing specific work for that company and then submitting this as a thesis (in particular for night course students). This is encouraged by the Universities and I’ve never heard of any additional legal treatment necessary to ensure that IP ownership faciliates this.

    I will try to find out more on this…
    Steve[/quote:e8ff7a7b8d]

    As for additional legal treatment being necessary, on one VC deal, where the founder of the company had developed a patentable process while teaching abroad, it was important for the investment to proceed that we could produce both waivers and assignments of the rights to him from the institution where he taught (there had been an IP policy in place assigning certain rights and options with the institution).

    On another campus company matter, both the uni and the creator of the rights took shares in the company and it was necessary to put in place assignments to the new company of all the rights in the product from both (the uni owned all the rights developed when the founder studied there, he had also added to the works upon completing his thesis). The campus company could then start off licensing an IP product nice and cleanly.

    In both cases the thorny issues about IP ownership were dealt with before the commercial exploitation of the products – that is by far the most sensible approach.

    Even if you decide on the QT to go on to develop a game using something that a Uni might or does own, if at a later stage someone wants to invest in your company or a bank wants to give you funding you will have to give what are called warranties (i.e. statements of fact that you promise are correct), to paraphrase (without the legalese) some typical examples of these:

    I own all the IP rights in the game.
    No one else can claim those rights.
    Anyone who worked on the game was my employee and developed the game during the course of their employment
    I have shown you all documents and agreements relating to the IP rights in the game.
    I have told you about all the software I used to develop the game and have shown you the licences to show I could use that software
    … and this list goes on an on.

    If those statements are later proven to be wrong you would be personally on the hook and could be sued.

  • #23027

    omen
    Participant

    I cannot give you a definitive authorative response on this – but it is my understanding that all undergraduate student work is their own copyright and IP, regardless of where/how is was developed. At least in my experience that is how it is treated.[/quote:1915b33cdc]
    Pretty sure thats not the case, or at least it wasn’t when I was an undergrad.

  • #23034

    Skyclad
    Participant

    One presumes different colleges and institutions have their own take on these things too…

  • #23483

    feral
    Participant

    I cannot give you a definitive authorative response on this – but it is my understanding that all undergraduate student work is their own copyright and IP, regardless of where/how is was developed. At least in my experience that is how it is treated.[/quote:d7e0e26451]

    Pretty sure thats not the case, or at least it wasn’t when I was an undergrad.[/quote:d7e0e26451]

    As I stated above, both myself and other CS students in Trinity sought clarification on this from FYP supervisors, and were told unequivocally that all undergrad work, including FYP, was our own IP.

    So if that’s not the case, then many of the academic staff in Trinity are mistaken.

    I would say that it’s probably, as skyclad mentioned, just different across institutions?

  • #23518

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    I cannot give you a definitive authorative response on this – but it is my understanding that all undergraduate student work is their own copyright and IP, regardless of where/how is was developed. At least in my experience that is how it is treated.[/quote:8a4eaa862f]

    Pretty sure thats not the case, or at least it wasn’t when I was an undergrad.[/quote:8a4eaa862f]

    As I stated above, both myself and other CS students in Trinity sought clarification on this from FYP supervisors, and were told unequivocally that all undergrad work, including FYP, was our own IP.

    So if that’s not the case, then many of the academic staff in Trinity are mistaken.

    I would say that it’s probably, as skyclad mentioned, just different across institutions?[/quote:8a4eaa862f]

    Yes – it appears that it varies across institutions. The position on TCD is correct, and I also believe is the appropriate one for both undergrad and postgrad work if not directly funded by a 3rd party and all the student’s own work. For clarity if the student is paid a stipend or other salary by the institution then I believe the situation is different, and the institution gets first dibs.

    Steve

  • #24098

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    One presumes different colleges and institutions have their own take on these things too…[/quote:2ca0fbdb9d]

    Sorry for dragging this back up but figured a definitive response would be useful. I checked this out and can confirm that TCD does not lay claim over a student’s IP so long as that student has not received any form of salary when creating the IP (salary in the form of stipend, research grant, paid work etc.). If unclear students can get specific dispensations from the College Board.

    So default is if you’re an undergrad working on your own 4th year project for example, then it’s yours.

    This applies to TCD only. It may well apply with other universities but I haven’t talked with them.

  • #24260

    jediboy
    Participant

    Thanks to all involved in this thread.

    Got a letter back from Mary Hanafin today. She told me that IT’s pretty much have their own governing body over issues such as IP, Copyright, but all they can implement are guidelines that “should” be adhered too.

  • #25045

    RabidChipmunk
    Participant

    All I know is how it works in the US. But for us here it is pretty simple. When you sign the enrollment agreement there is a clause in the agreement that reads as follows:

    “Publicity and Copyright. The University may elect to have its students’ photographs and work or projects appear in connection with
    educational and promotional student body activities. The student therefore agrees that the University and its agents or successors
    in interest may use and/or reproduce his/her likeness or work projects for any and all purposes in any media. A copy of any such
    material released for publication will be made available upon request. Students retain original rights to their projects.”

    As I said that is just the norm for the schools here in the States. Actually the above excerp is from the enrollment agreement I had to sign for the Uni I will be attending starting this fall. Not that it helps with the discussion much, but to give you a wider view of what goes on.

  • #25047

    jediboy
    Participant

    RabidChipmunk,

    Cheers for the contribution, this was a serious issue on these boards a couple of weeks ago. It boiled down to me contacting the minister for education, Mary Hanafin, who had some of her highly-paid researchers do the leg work.

    she pretty much stated any agreements or “institutional agreements” won’t hold water in court. A students fees / tuition / and tax cover the expected costs of him/her attending college.

    The idea that a college may lay claim (partial or otherwise) is just them chancing their arm, hoping that no one will challenge this.

    She did point out that her researchers were unable to conclude what the situation in northern ireland is regarding this matter.

    The rest of the board member decided that any college that wanted to lay their mits on a students work would have to fight for it. Literally. Bare-knuckle, and to the death. charles bronson was nominated as the referee. So if there are any “cases” coming up, we’ll be sure and save you a ring-side seat…

    hehehehehe :twisted:

  • #25049

    RabidChipmunk
    Participant

    JB, and everyone for that matter: feel free to use a nickname. I know my screen name is a bit long, so feel free to be creative. :lol:

    Secondly I read through the thread and saw what it was you guys found, and that is quite interesting. The thing is, in the US you would be very lucky as the student to win that battle. I guess it shows the difference in our countries, but here it tends to be: If you sign it they win. This doesn’t say they own your IP, but they have the right to show it and you at their whim. Granted this is just for my school, and I have seldom heard of IP being withheld from the student, but I recall one instance where an art student wanted a nude “art” peice they did in college taken out of the gallery rotation at the Uni, and the uni said hell no. The student took the school to court saying it was degrading to her and could hinder her promotion in a law profession or something. Basically she went into a real stuffy profession after school and wanted the painting removed, and she lost the court case. I will have to see if I can find wherever it was I read it. Anyway sorry to revive a dead topic, but I thought it may be somewhat prevalent with some people who may think of attending school, or working in the US at some point.

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