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I completed some work at University for a website design. I understand that unless I request IP from the University they own full rights to the design. The clause is stated as below:

18.1 All intellectual property rights in and to any work created by a student during the course of his/her study will belong to and be the absolute property of the University and the student will do all such acts and sign all necessary deeds and documents to vest legal title in and to the intellectual property in the University.

The questions I have are:

  1. Do I maintain any rights to the design?
  2. Have I relinquished all rights to the work through this point?
  3. Is accreditation and IP separate? I.e. do I still have the right to accreditation on the website despite not owning it?

Any advice or help is much appreciated.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 31 '11 at 9:49

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2 Answers 2

Well, I've had a brief stint at an IP company so here goes:

(I'm assuming the work you refer to was something you did as advised/aided by your professors)

1) It seems clear from the clause that you have absolutely no enforceable IP rights over your work anymore.

2) Yes you have.

3) Yes, accreditation and IP are separate. You can claim it to be your work, but you can not sue anyone for using/misusing it.

Comparing with a patent, it's like you are the inventor and your university is the Assignee.

On that note, if the work you did was on your own impulse, with absolutely no intellectual or other help from your university (except for hardware), then you can claim ownership of copyright on the grounds that this was "purely your work". To see whether or not you actually have a case, you need to consult an IP Law firm.

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Is accreditation and IP separate?

Yes, it is. Attribution is part of moral rights. In most of the world they are automatically granted to the author. With notable exception of USA, where the moral rights exist only for some visual art, and it doesn't seem that web design would qualify.

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Do you still hold the moral rights, even if you produced the work while working as a normal employee of a company? –  Bjarke Freund-Hansen Aug 31 '11 at 12:49
@bjarkef: that depends a lot on local legislation. In many countries you still have right to attribution, even if you've done the work as an employee, as personal copyrights (moral rights) apply only to physical person. In others (eg. UK) legal person might be holder of moral rights, in this case they belong to company, not employee. –  vartec Aug 31 '11 at 13:01
@bjarkef: see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_for_hire –  vartec Aug 31 '11 at 13:05

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