Biblically Centered Education
Copyright Ownership Section 3.8 Dept: Provost Revised: January 28th, 2016

Biola University (Biola) encourages the production of creative and scholarly works, research and inventions, known broadly as intellectual property, among faculty, other employees and students. The products of this scholarship may create rights and interests on behalf of the creator, author, inventor, public, sponsor and the university.

This policy seeks to support and reward scientific research and scholarship, help faculty, students and staff identify, protect, and administer intellectual property matters, and define the rights and responsibilities of all involved. As a matter of fundamental policy, the university encourages the wide dissemination of scholarly work produced by members of the Biola community, including copyrightable works. Biola faculty, other employees and students are encouraged to retain a non-exclusive, royalty-free license in their published works that will allow the author to use the work in the course of teaching and research.


Employees are any people employed by Biola in any capacity, whether they are faculty, staff, administration, or students and whether they are employed full-time, part-time, or in a temporary capacity.

Faculty are full-time and part-time, tenured, tenure-track, lecturer, research, clinical, and adjunct faculty.

Independent Contractors and Consultants are non-employees hired by Biola.

Scholarly Works are works authored by employees as part of or in connection with their responsibilities, if any, in teaching, research, or scholarship. Common examples of scholarly works include but are not limited to: lectures, lecture notes, scientific works, case examples, course materials, textbooks, works of nonfiction, novels, journal articles, scholarly papers, poems, lyrics, musical compositions and sound recordings, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, computer software, visual works of art, and other artistic creations, among others, regardless of the medium in which those works are fixed or disseminated.



This policy applies to intellectual property created by all classifications of faculty, other employees, and students of Biola, and non-employees who create works on behalf of Biola unless a written agreement exists to the contrary.

Copyright Ownership - Faculty

As a general principle under copyright law, the copyright to works created by persons in the course of their employment belongs to the employer rather than to the individual creator. However, it has been the tradition at Biola and many other universities for scholarly works by faculty to be deemed the property of the author, who is considered to be entitled to determine how the works are to be disseminated and to keep any income they may produce. This tradition reflects Biola’s commitment to encourage members of the Biola community to write and publish such works. In recognition of that longstanding practice, Biola does not claim ownership of scholarly works of faculty and copyright ownership of scholarly works will vest with the faculty member who created such work except in the following cases:

1.  Institutional Works. Biola will own the copyright to scholarly works created by faculty members where authorship cannot be attributed to any one individual or group of individuals. Such institutional works may also include works produced as a collaborative effort under the aegis of a school or department, for example, works created in a project initiated by a school or department, or works that are created and then developed or improved over time by a series of individuals.

2.  Written Agreement. When scholarly works are produced pursuant to the terms of a written agreement, the agreement shall specify ownership in the work. In the case of commissioned works, the university will enter into a written agreement with the faculty member specifying the work being commissioned and the commission, if any, being paid. 

3.  Outside Agreements. Development of the scholarly works was funded as part of an externally sponsored research program under an agreement that allocates rights to the funding entity.

4.  Exceptional Use of University Resources. Copyright ownership of scholarly works produced with exceptional use of Biola resources shall belong to Biola unless there is a written agreement to the contrary. Exceptional use of Biola resources occurs when the university has provided substantial support specifically for production of the work with resources of a degree or nature not routinely made available to faculty and has provided notice to the professor prior to the completion of the work that such provision of substantial support constitutes exceptional use under this policy. Such substantial support may include unusual reduction of teaching service or similar university activities, other significant institutional funding in support of the work’s creation, or free use of specialized university facilities outside of classroom settings.

In those instances in which Biola holds the copyright ownership to scholarly works, faculty members have the right to use such works created by such faculty members for teaching, research, and other noncommercial purposes in connection with educational activities at Biola. Biola will also acknowledge creators of such works who have made a substantial creative contribution to the works upon request by the creators.

Copyright Ownership – Non-Faculty Employees

Works produced by non-faculty employees within the scope of their employment are considered a “work-for-hire” as defined in the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. §101) and Biola owns the copyright to the works produced unless there is a written agreement between the parties to the contrary.


Students hold the copyright in works they author unless they authored works as employees or transferred their copyright in writing; provided, however, that ownership of motion pictures, audio visual works and certain other artworks shall be determined in accordance with the policies of the Biola Division of Fine Arts and Communication.

Independent Contractors

It is the standard practice of the university to require that independent contractors and consultants transfer, in writing, the copyright in works they create for, in conjunction with, or on behalf of the university and that the parties expressly agree in a signed writing that the work is considered a work made for hire.

Joint Works

When people collaborate to author a copyrighted work, it often results in a "joint work" in which all the rights holders jointly have nonexclusive rights to use the work. Employees or students who collaborate with each other or with non-university third parties should anticipate (perhaps in a writing) the disposition of the copyright prior to authoring the work.

Policy Interpretation and Dispute Resolution:

This policy and its implementation may require interpretation and review. University constituents should make every attempt to resolve disputes informally with the assistance of one or more of the following: the Office of the Provost (for policy clarification), the University Legal Counsel (for legal clarification), or the Office of Digital Learning (for technical issues). If informal procedures and consultation do not provide resolution of a dispute or policy issue, university constituents may file a request for formal dispute resolution or policy interpretation with the Office of the Provost. The Provost will appoint an ad hoc committee and designate a chair. The committee will consist of a combination of administrators, faculty, staff, and/or students as appropriate given the nature of the complaint and the respective roles of the parties involved. The decisions of the committee may be appealed to the President (or his or her designee). The decisions of the President (or designee) shall be final.

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