To: President Bulger and Board of Education Members
From: LCCEA and LCC OER Librarian
Date: October 27, 2022
Re: Proposed Copyright Policy
Dear President Bulger and members of the Board of Education,
We are writing as representatives of the 450 part-time and full-time faculty at Lane Community College to share our concerns about the proposed Board policy on copyright.
First, it is not consistent with Article 18 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with faculty, which protects faculty members’ intellectual property rights. Our CBA (“contract”) between the LCC Board of Education and the LCCEA provides that faculty retain intellectual property rights over their work as long as they have not received compensation (e.g., curriculum development funding) or release time specifically for the development of the work. If the College does not compensate or provide release to faculty specifically to develop work such as curricular materials, lecture notes, etc., the faculty member retains rights for what they have created. In addition, if the faculty member is compensated or released specifically for the purpose of producing materials and the materials are later used commercially, the faculty member retains equity in the materials after the college recovers its investment. This protection for faculty intellectual property rights is a long-settled issue, which has been in place since at least 1985.
It is unclear why there would be a proposal that the Board adopt a policy that could violate a contract with an employee group. Such a policy could not be enforced because contracts supersede policy. We think it would send the wrong message and could be legally questionable for the Board to adopt a policy that would violate a collective bargaining agreement if implemented.
Second, copyrighting OERs (open educational resources) developed by faculty would contravene the entire purpose of OERs, which is to provide open access to free instructional materials to students and to share them among faculty within and across institutions. For OERs, a much more appropriate approach for faculty who create them and wish to share them would be to add open licenses to their works. Ensuring that LCC copyrights are not added to OERs is critical for keeping overall costs down for students here at LCC and anywhere OERs developed by LCC faculty are used.
Third, copyrighting the work of employees and students impacts many individuals beyond faculty. If such a policy were implemented, who would advocate for students and their rights to their own work? Is it appropriate for students’ artwork and writings to be owned by the College?
We urge you to discontinue consideration of adopting the copyright policy and encourage you to consider what problems the policy seeks to solve and engage all stakeholder groups, including experts, in addressing the actual issues. If the Board nevertheless moves forward to adopt any copyright policy, we urge you to include language indicating it applies, “except as provided by collective bargaining agreements and any other agreements,” given that this issue is a mandatory subject of bargaining, which means negotiation is required, and at least one contract addresses this issue already.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this issue and your commitment to Lane Community College.
Adrienne Mitchell, President
Aryn Bartley, Secretary
Marge Helzer, Treasurer
Christina Howard, Vice President for Career Technical Faculty
Rosa Lopez, Vice President for Faculty At-Large
Peggy Oberstaller, Vice President for Part-Time Faculty
Wendy Simmons, Vice President for Learning Advancement
Kate Sullivan, Vice President for Transfer Faculty
LCC Faculty OER Librarian