Here's Your I.P. Tip of the Week, brought to you by your friendly Intellectual Property campus coordinator.

The first Tip of the Week related to Intellectual Property (I.P.) is going to start at the beginning. Here is an overview of key factors that are important in the world of I.P. There are two main considerations with regard to Intellectual Property: 1. What type of creative work is it? 2. Who owns the creative work? Types of creative work: 1. Institutional Works 2. Scholarly Works 3. Encoded Works 4. Personal Works 5. Student Works Possible owners of creative work: 1. College 2. Faculty 3. Student 4. Staff 5. Joint ownership Here's a simple exercise: Fill in the blank below with the appropriate type from the list of creative works. A ___________ work is a work created by an employee or student outside his or her scope of employment and without the use of college or university resources other than resources that are available to the public or resources for which the creator has paid the requisite fee to utilize. (From MnSCU Policy 3.26, Part 4, Subpart A.4) Scroll down for the answer and another simple question.

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Answer: Personal Work. Who owns such personal works? a) the college b) the state c) the employee or student creator d) it depends (stolen from the 3-minute law school, copyright applied for) Scroll down for the answer and also for an example.

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Answer = c. The creator owns the personal work. Although "it depends" is usually a good answer, it is not needed here because if an item fits the definition of a personal work (no significant use of college resources, or payment for the use of the resources, and no written agreement that specifies other than personal work), then the college can make no claim of ownership. In effect, by classifying an item as a personal work, the college is forfeiting the right to claim any ownership rights. Example: an art instructor at the college creates a piece of pottery and donates it for a fund-raiser for an upcoming charity event. The instructor throws the pot using her own clay on her own wheel in the basement of her house. She brings it to the college and fires it in a kiln at the college along with some student pieces from a pottery class. The finished piece is then displayed at the fundraiser and is identified with a card containing the name of the instructor and the name of the college. Is this a personal work or does the college have an ownership interest in the piece? Scroll down for the answer.

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Answer: this is a personal work. Using the college's kiln under the situation identified is most likely allowable unless there is a specific college policy against it (unlikely). This use of the kiln does not appear to be a "substantial use" of the college resources. Additionally, attaching the name of the college to the identifying card does not create a conflict of interest between her personal life and college duties. Caveat: it is not difficult to change the facts enough to eliminate the claim of personal work. For example, maybe the instructor comes in on a weekend and uses the kiln at an increased cost when it would not otherwise be used. Maybe the instructor does this on a regular basis and then sells the pieces for personal gain. All claims of personal work would probably fail in that case. Tune in again next week for your next Tip-o-the-week!! The Tip of the Week is adapted from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities "Understanding Intellectual Property: A Guide to Board Policy 3.26."