Purdue AAUP Objects to New IP Standard

November 14, 2019

Purdue University’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors this week released a statement against the institution’s recently updated intellectual property policy. The chapter says the faculty wasn’t consulted on the policy, which gives the university “broad power to hold intellectual copyright ownership over courseware and online modules designed by Purdue faculty.” The statement suggests that Purdue timed the update to the policy to coincide with a new collaboration with edX on master’s degrees in various disciplines, favoring its interests “over faculty governance.” Purdue's IP standard says, in part, that “courseware and online modules are considered commissioned copyrightable works. The university retains and manages copyright to commissioned copyrightable works as Purdue intellectual property.

Purdue said in a statement that the new standard “does not change Purdue’s IP policy, which has long recognized the university’s ownership of copyrightable materials commissioned by the university. The standard makes it clear that courseware and online modules commissioned by the university fall in this category.” Purdue also said its policy is consistent with some of its peers’, and that “clarifying standards of this nature are subject to a less formal approval process.” Even so, Purdue said, some faculty members and all deans were consulted on the policy before it was put in place. It’s working with the University Senate and others now to clear up “misunderstandings” in the AAUP statement.

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