Q. Copyright for academics and staff
King’s Code of Practice for Intellectual Property, Commercial Exploitation and Financial Benefit states that the university claims copyright for any works created by personnel during the course of their employment at the university. However, the university typically waives its ownership rights for scholarly publications to facilitate publication:
Where the College does not want to directly facilitate Scholarly Publication and in keeping with normal academic custom, publication may still be possible. In such circumstances the College may waive certain of its rights in such Scholarly Publication and may also assign certain of its rights in any Covered IP included within the proposed Scholarly Publication to the Personnel wishing to make the publication.
However, there are some kinds of material for which KCL can claim IP rights such as patents or rights for works that can be developed or exploited commercially. As soon as personnel become aware of any IP that are covered by the university policy and which may have commercial value they should notify the university:
The College, through the IP & Licensing team within the Research Management & Innovation Directorate will determine whether and how the Covered IP is exploited and commercialised and the terms of that exploitation and commercialisation. It will also determine whether or not the Covered IP is registered, for example by filing a patent application or registered design. Any decision on protection and/or commercialisation will only be taken after consultation with the Personnel involved in the creation of the Covered IP. The College, however, will have the final decision in relation to whether and how any Covered IP is protected, exploited and the terms of that exploitation.
The traditional way of asserting copyright continues to be recommended by the Intellectual Property Office, marking text with a © symbol and date, e.g. © 2020. Keep in mind that terms of grants and contracts (employment, consultancy, publishing) may impact on what you may or may not do.
Protecting copyright – Licensing
If you wish to share your work and make it available for reuse while still retaining control over it then you should consider releasing it with a Commons Licence. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation which, in addition to the licences, provides a range of useful tools to support a proper sharing of information. It offers a range of licences which build on national and international legislation and conventions on IPR and copyright, which allow creators to stipulate how their works are used and ensure that authors receive credit.
The six main Licences are:
- Attribution - allows others to use an original work in a variety of ways (including commercial purposes) as long as the originator of the work is credited.
- Attribution share alike - allows others to use an original work in a variety of ways (including commercial purposes) as long as the originator of the work is credited and any derivative is licensed with identical terms.
- Attribution no derivatives - allows for the distribution of images where the originator is credited and where no changes are made to the original work.
- Attribution non–commercial – allows others to use an original work as long as the purpose is non-commercial and the originator of the work is credited.
- Attribution non–commercial share alike – allows others to use an original work as long as the purpose is non-commercial, the originator of the work is credited and any derivative works are licensed with identical terms.
- Attribution non–commercial no derivatives – allows others to access and share original works ensuring that the use is for non–commercial purposes, the originator of the work is credited and that the original work is not used for profit.
Publishing and copyright
When you publish your research you will usually enter into a contractual agreement with the publisher. It is standard practice for copyright to be assigned to the publisher. When you transfer copyright to a publisher you relinquish control over what happens to your work in the future. However, there are alternative arrangements which allow you to retain some rights to your work. Some publishers provide a "License to Publish" which grants the publisher sole rights for certain copyright related acts for the article while allowing the author to retain certain rights for scholarly purposes. Always review the terms and conditions of any contractual arrangement with your publisher. Irrespective of where you publish the publisher owns the copyright for the typographic arrangement of the published version which lasts for 25 years.