Category Archives: Intellectual Property

In light of MOOCs, intellectual property policy remains flexible

By Abhi Shah

When English professor Cathy Davidson announced her move to City University of New York, the question was raised as to who would retain the rights to the massive open online course she created while at Duke.

The Intellectual Property Board, one of the Provost’s committees, gave Davidson—who is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies—the rights to the MOOC titled “History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education” after interpreting the University’s intellectual property and online courseware policies written in 2000. Although the policies were drafted during a time when online education looked much different than it does today, its language continues to be relevant, administrators say.

“The revisions in 2000 were drafted with an eye for online education,” said Laurence Helfer, the Harry S. Chadwick Sr. Professor of Law at the Law School.
“[Duke] didn’t know what it would look like, but the directors knew it was coming. [The policy] is efficiently broad and has flexible language so that it can be applied to the types of MOOCs that are offered today.”

Duke’s interpretation of the policy tends to allow professors to retain the rights to their course materials that Duke funds. Kevin Smith, director of the office of copyright and scholarly communications, explained that the University’s interpretation is similar to those at a majority of other schools. Faculty members own the property of the content, but Duke also has a hand in some forms of ownership.

[ Full article available at The Chronicle (Duke University): ]


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