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Copyright for Faculty

Copyright Information for Faculty

Copyright Ownership

Copyright Ownership

The author is usually the owner.

Except when work-for-hire rules apply. The author's employer owns work(s):

  • Created by an employee within the scope of employment, or
  • That fall within one or more of the nine statutory categories, where an agreement commissioning the work is in writing and signed by the creator or creators before work begins.
    • The nine statutory categories include: contribution to a collective work; part of a movie or other audiovisual work; a translation; a supplementary work; a compilation; an instructional text; a test; answer material for a test; or an atlas
  • If a work doesn't fit within the statutory definition of a work-for-hire, the employer may still own it if the author assigns the copyright to the employer or contractor.
  • An author-owner is free to assign copyright to anyone, so a written contract can change these basic rules.
  • Many publishers require assignment of copyright as a condition of publication


Policies, such as Spartanburg Community College's SCC Intellectual Property Procedure II-104 and the SC Technical College System's Policy 3-1-100, applies the work-for-hire rules and holds that normally the College is the copyright owner,  not the faculty or staff member or student producer:

Copyrights, patents, and all other forms of intellectual property developed or created by faculty members in the course of their teaching and research, by staff members in the course of their jobs, or students in the course of their college activities are the exclusive property of the College. Intellectual property developed by a non-employee third-party consultant pursuant to the terms of a written and signed contract will generally be considered "work for hire" and to be owned by the college.


As a matter of fundamental principle, however, the College encourages wide dissemination of work produced by members of the Spartanburg Community College community, including copyrightable works and patents. In addition, the College encourages the sharing of intellectual property between all institutions which are members or affiliated with the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education System. To promote the creation and dissemination of intellectual property, the President of Spartanburg Community College or his designee may enter into written property ownership agreements with employees or contractors who create original works involving copyrights, patents, or other forms of intellectual property for use or ownership by the college.
(From SCC Intellectual Property Procedure II-104.)


For more specifics such as exceptions, financial details, etc. refer to the Procedure.


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