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Research Guides@TCC Libraries

Copyright and Fair Use: Research Guide

What is Intellectual property?

Intellectual property refers to things you could copyright or patent.

For more detail check out the World Intellectual Property Organization

VCCS Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures

"The following policy determines ownership rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property produced by a student and/or an employee of the VCCS.  This policy is subject to applicable law and is consistent with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Draft Guidelines for the Development of Patent and Copyright Policies and Procedures by State Supported Institutions of Higher Education of May 6, 1987.  Although the VCCS might legally claim ownership of all intellectual property created by or for it, this policy exercises that right more narrowly in order to encourage creativity."

How does this apply to students?

With a few exceptions the Virginia Community College System does not claim ownership or interest in student developed intellectual property.  The official policy states:

" Student-Developed Intellectual Property Materials

Except as otherwise provided by separate written agreement or waiver that is executed by a duly authorized officer of the VCCS or a college, the VCCS:

  1. Does not claim an ownership interest in intellectual property produced by a student provided that the production of the intellectual property is not an assigned duty and it involves only incidental use of college resources.  VCCS does, however, claim the right to use student intellectual property for its internal educational and administrative purposes.
  2. Claims a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use intellectual property developed by a student with the substantial use of college resources.
  3. Claims an exclusive ownership interest in any intellectual property developed by a student with the significant use of college resources."

Basically, if you wrote a great short story for your English class you own it.  You own the copyright and can potentially publish it, collect royalties and even sign a movie deal. However if you wrote a report as part of your work study job, then you don’t own it. If you did a project that used a lot of your instructor’s time and for which the college specifically procured resources, then the VCCS can claim an interest.

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