University Charges New Task Force on Copyright

Task Force on Copyright Charge
August 17, 2015

Charge:  The Copyright Task Force is expected to address issues associated with the area of copyright ownership that arise within the PSU University community. The task force will identify existing resources, policies, and practices within the University, consider areas of risk within the community, and make recommendations to move the University forward in a dynamic technological, academic, and legal environment. In accomplishing its work, the task force should balance competing and complementary values that include respect for laws and intellectual property, the desire to foster scholarly creativity and enhance the creative works of all members of the academic community, advance excellence in teaching, and enhance student learning in an affordable educational environment.

In the course of its work, among other contributions as it sees fit, the task force is expected to:

  1. Determine what policies, guidelines, procedures, and educational efforts surrounding copyright already exist within the University. Identify what new policies and guidelines need to be created and what existing policies and guidelines should be revised, eliminated, consolidated, and/or relocated. Make recommendations for where the various responsibilities for copyright lie within the University.

  1. Identify needed actions and implement a process and timeline to update the University Copyright Policy. Make recommendations and create a suggested timeline to update the copyright sections of any new Intellectual Property Policies and Guidelines.

  1. Determine specific areas in which copyright ownership policies at our institution should be reviewed and updated, or newly-developed, and recommend the substance of appropriate policies that demonstrate respect for laws and intellectual property, foster scholarly creativity, promote excellence in teaching, and enhance student learning in an affordable educational environment. Although not intended to be an exclusive list of areas to address, the task force should specifically consider:

  • the use of streaming media, especially media that cannot be readily attained through purchase;

  • accessibility in an online learning environment, including captioning of audiovisual works;

  • copyright ownership and transfer of Open Educational Resources, including open textbooks, created by PSU faculty, staff, and students;

  • policies regarding the use of textbooks and other course materials authored by PSU faculty;

  • the grant or assignment of rights to external sponsors of University projects and external users of university facilities;

  • conditions under which the University has ownership in newly-created works; and

  • continuing obligations of the University to update and review copyright policies and practices and the appropriate place for these duties within the University community.

  1. Make recommendations to review and revise standards for the scope of individual duties of employment to provide guidance to employees as they perform various work-related tasks. With respect to faculty members, identify the concerns unique to faculty and make recommendations about how to address those concerns.

  1. Make recommendations to review and revise standards for the scope of individual duties of our students to provide guidance as they pursue their education.

  1. Make recommendations with respect to where our institution should fall on the continuum between limiting institutional risk and providing broad access to content at an affordable price for students and in a manner to enhance teaching and learning. For example, does PSU want to provide well-defined and distinct guidelines for use determinations? Or, does it want provide more flexibility in the context of use determinations?  Will checklists or FAQs be utilized?  Is documentation regarding the method and analysis of any use determination required or encouraged?

  1. Identify what areas of the University should have responsibility for providing copyright assistance and education to faculty, staff, and students. Make recommendations regarding the level of support needed to adequately address copyright issues affecting University teaching and research.

  1. Make recommendations regarding whether a University copyright officer position should be developed. If so, make recommendations for where such a position should fall within the institutional structure of the University and provide an assessment of the budgetary impacts of such a position. Propose qualifications and recommend job duties of a person holding the position.

Time Frame:  The task force should complete its work by June 30, 2016. It is expected that after this date, further work may need to be accomplished to implement task force recommendations.

Reporting and Status:  The task force will report to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sona Andrews and to the Vice President for Research and Strategic Partnerships, Jonathan Fink. The task force is further encouraged to keep the Faculty Senate apprised of deliberations as it proceeds. At the end of each academic quarter, the task force shall provide progress reports and recommendations to Sona Andrews and Jonathan Fink.


  • Sona Andrews, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Jon Fink, Vice President for Research and Strategic Partnerships

Task Force Membership:

  • Marilyn Moody, Dean, University Library

  • Joe Janda, Director, Innovation & Intellectual Property, Research and Strategic Partnerships


  • Michele Bromley, Inclusive Technology Coordinator, Disability Resource Center

  • Johannes De Gruyter, Executive Director, Office of Academic Innovation

  • Warren Harrison, Chair, Computer Science, faculty member

  • Jon Holt, World Languages and Literatures faculty member

  • Maura Kelly, Sociology faculty member

  • Tom Potiowsky, Chair, Economics, faculty member

  • Krista Stearns, Assistant General Counsel, Office of General Counsel