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Re: Franz Flavors & software copyright
- To: fateman%ucbdali@Berkeley
- Subject: Re: Franz Flavors & software copyright
- From: John R Ellis <Ellis@YALE.ARPA>
- Date: Tue, 28 Feb 84 05:39:03 GMT
- Cc: franz-friends%ucbdali@Berkeley
- In-reply-to: fateman%ucbdali@UCB-VAX.ARPA, Mon, 27 Feb 84 20:06:02 pst
- Original-date: Tue, 28 Feb 84 00:39:03 EST
A professor probably doesn't think of his research, or programming
as "work for hire".
It certainly is possible for universities to make such claims, and
some but not all, do. Some make distinctions between researchers
and employees Some make distinctions between researchers and employees
who are (for example) programmers. This does not mean that the claims
will withstand legal challenges.
I agree that the ultimate test will be court challenges. But the law
is clearly worded -- an employer owns employees' copyrights for written
material created by the employee as part of his normal job, unless their
contract says differently. By all common definitions a professor is
employed by the university to do research, and writing programs is part
of a computer science professor's research.
I've talked to a lawyer who specializes in patent and copyright law. He
said there is quite a bit of overlap between the two areas; for example,
in the recent videotaping/copyright infringement case, the Supreme Court
referred to precedents in patent law. He said it's long been established
that universities have the right to claim ownership over patents resulting
from the work of employees, including faculty. The lawyer pointed out,
reasonably enough, that since patent law considers faculty research as
"work for hire" (work performed by employees as part of their job), it
was very likely that the same concept would extend into copyright law.