3.2.9 Computer Software

The University has an established policy (Policy 6-07) defining the rights and obligations of the University, originators, and sponsors with regard to computer software. Administration of this policy is the responsibility of the University Provost, but day-to-day administration is delegated to the Vice Provost for Research, with the understanding that no departures will be made from this policy without the University Provost's concurrence. A brief summary of the policy follows.

The objective of the policy is to preserve traditional University practices and privileges with respect to the publication of scholarly works while protecting the University's assets. The policy (1) aims to encourage faculty, students, and staff to develop software, and (2) establishes principles and procedures for equitably sharing income derived from material produced at the University in cases where the University has an interest in the software.

All rights in computer software remain with the creator of the work except in the following cases: (1) the work is a "work made for hire" under the provisions of copyright law, (2) the work is commissioned by the University, (3) creation of the work involves significant use of the University's personnel, funds, or facilities, or (4) other arrangements are required by the University's contractual obligations or by agreement between the University and the creator of the work.

In interpreting the work-made-for-hire clause, the University recognizes the obligation of faculty members to publish scholarly works and follows its long-standing practices regarding copyrights and royalties (or other income) pertaining to works resulting from author-initiated, individual effort. The University policy on Copyrightable Material (Policy 6-07) states that: "In accordance with established custom at institutions of higher learning, copyright ownership of textbooks, manuscripts, other print materials, etc., produced by the individual effort of the author, as well as any royalties therefrom, accrue to the benefit of the author." A few exceptions to this general rule are given in the policy on Copyrightable Materials and the policy on Computer Software.

In cases where software may have market potential, the originator should notify the Vice Provost for Research (or other official designated by the Provost) when the commercial potential becomes apparent. To safeguard the individual's and University's interests, a copyright notice should be placed on the software when it is distributed to others, whether or not its marketability is apparent at the time.

The complete University of Delaware Policy on Computer Software is contained in the Research Section of the UD Policies and Procedures Manual (Policy 6-09).