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Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer

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Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer


Intellectual Property Policy

The University's Intellectual Property Policy governs Intellectual Property (IP) made or created by University faculty, students, staff, and others participating in University research programs, including visiting researchers.

University of Denver Policy Manual Intellectual Property

The goals of the Policy are to:

  • Facilitate and celebrate innovation within the University community
  • Enhance the University's reputation and visibility
  • Contribute to the public good through economic development

Questions regarding the Policy may be directed to our Office.

Statement on Copyright Ownership of Teaching Materials

The University of Denver Intellectual Property Policy affirms the principle under U.S. copyright law that copyright in a work created by a person acting within the scope of his or her employment belongs to the employer rather than the originating author. However, as is customary within the academic traditions of University of Denver and peer institutions, copyright ownership rights in a scholarly work belong to the author(s) of the work (See IP Policy § II.A).

The purpose of this statement is to clarify that under the University Intellectual Property Policy, copyright ownership in instructional content and materials originally authored by individual instructors that are shared in the course of their teaching shall also belong to the author(s), with certain, stated exceptions (See IP Policy § II.C-E). The University, with limited exceptions, will NOT treat such instructional content as "work-for-hire."


1. Which instructional materials are exempted from the "work-for-hire" doctrine and considered owned by the faculty-author?

a. Course syllabi
b. Lecture notes
c. PowerPoint or other digital presentations
d. Class assignments, exams, and supplemental materials
e. Certain digitally produced materials (also see Q2)

2. Which instructional materials are NOT exempted from the "work-for-hire" doctrine? (In certain cases, where the exemption does not apply the University may nonetheless assign ownership or issue a broad license to the creator)

  1.  Materials developed in the course of or pursuant to a sponsored research agreement shall be owned as specified in such agreement
  2. Materials created with substantial "University assistance"


    Substantial use of voice(s) or image(s) of University Employees, Staff Members or property.


    Substantial creative or developmental contribution by Employees, Staff Members, or Students engaged in the course of their regular employment or academic program (other than Creator(s)).(Contributions by others may be owned by those individuals or by the university, depending on the circumstances)


    Substantial use of University software designers, programmers or other information technology staff or University computing or telecommunications facilities (use of Canvas is not a "substantial use").


    Examples: Digital productions, reproductions, or other recordings of courses that are made at the University's expense and with the use of University videographers or editor

  3. Materials from courses for which the faculty member was specially contracted and compensated by the University beyond his/her regular salaried appointment


    Examples:  Faculty members contracted by the University specifically as course developers

3. If I record my zoom class sessions to allow students to watch them after the live session, do I own the copyright in those recordings?

You retain full copyright ownership of instructional content and materials originally created by you that are captured in these recordings. Copyright in content and materials from students and other individuals that are captured in the recordings are owned by the contributors respectively.

4. If I use Zoom to create videos of my lectures for my students to watch asynchronously, do I own those videos?

You retain full copyright ownership in these videos.

5. Can the University share the digital materials I created, such as zoom recordings or a course site in canvas, without my permission?

The University will seek your express permission before sharing instructional content and materials created by you with others.

6. Can I sell or license the zoom video I create to a third party?

This could potentially present issues of conflict of commitment or conflict of interest (Conflict of Interest Policy). There may also be potential liability related to student privacy and third party copyright or trademark infringement.

If there is any possibility of selling or licensing the zoom video, please contact the Office of Provost or Office of General Counsel to resolve any conflict of interest issues.

7. Can I grant free access to the content I create for my course to other educators or non-profit organizations?

Content that you originally created which is stored on your computer may be shared at your discretion provided that doing so does not present issues of conflict of commitment or conflict of interest (Conflict of Interest Policy). There may be potential liability related to student privacy and third party copyright infringement with sharing the video. You would need to consider these issues and request approval from the appropriate third parties before sharing.

If you have any questions related to the conflict of interest, please contact the Office of General Counsel or Office of Provost.

conflict of interest policy

The University of Denver expects the highest standards of conduct and honesty from all of its University Representatives. University Representatives must fulfill their institutional responsibilities with care and loyalty and must avoid involvement in activities that conflict with, or appear to conflict with, those responsibilities.

University of Denver Conflict of Interest Policy