Remote teaching and your copyright

We have had a few inquiries about the ownership of materials faculty develop for teaching remotely. 

The copyright article, which has remained almost unchanged since the first Collective Agreement (1977–79), stipulates that faculty own the copyright to their lectures but do not own copyright in recorded works if such works are created in the course of assigned duties. Formerly there were faculty in the Extension Division whose full-time jobs involved producing works such as online classes and learning materials published and sold by the university. Their assigned duties were to produce or edit these materials on behalf of the university, which retained copyright.

It is the USFA’s position that faculty are the sole copyright holders in all the materials they develop for teaching, including recorded lectures for remote delivery.

Furthermore, faculty members should not sign away their copyright when developing an online course with the Distance Education Unit (DEU). We have learned that DEU adds the following language to the contracts for developing courses for off-campus and distance learning:

As per the USFA Clause 26 (Copyright), the faculty Subject Matter Expert (SME, [name]) assigned to develop this class is the copyright holder. By signing this MOA, the SME voluntarily agrees that copyright is handed over to the [college/department] at the University of Saskatchewan.

If you are asked to sign away your rights, keep in mind that it is possible for you to develop a class with DEU without doing so. We know of members who have developed courses with DEU without repercussion, even though they declined to sign away their rights. In any case, the university should not be asking faculty to sign individual agreements.