Who owns student work?

Let’s say you are a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University. You got your degree in Photography and, since graduating, have been working on getting pictures together for a contest.
A few weeks after submitting your pictures to the contest you get a letter of rejection from the contest that says you were disqualified because your photographs had already been published somewhere else and that they aren’t original works.
Come to find out, NKU published your photographs for institional promotion and marketing without informing you, and that’s the reason your photographs were disqualified from the contest.
This scenario is a possibility in the proposed Intellectual Property Policy that goes up for vote to the Board of Regents Nov. 11. This rule, in particular, states that students have the right to retain copyright and intellectual property of the works, but that the university can use the works for institutional promotion and marketing – the university can also enter the works into ‘appropriate competitions,’ according to the proposed Intellectual Property Policy document.

This particular rule had the Student Government Association in a whirlwind during their meeting Nov. 9.

‘I think because it’s something going through the administration that a lot of students aren’t going to be so informed on until the day comes where they do something, or write a short story, or a poem,’ said SGA senator Laura Barrett. ‘ ‘hellip; I think it’s really strange to be entering into a contract like this without a student having the chance to really approve that they are doing it.’

Dennis Chaney, vice president of SGA, found the policy regarding Intellectual Property of students’ original work was flawed.

‘It goes far and beyond,’ Chaney said. ‘None of the other schools say, ‘You automatically grant this school license to reproduce and publish your material.”

Chaney elaborated that it is implied at other schools, such as Western Kentucky University and University of Louisville, that the university ask permission before using student works, which Chaney said is his goal.’

‘This biggest thing is that we just want to amend this policy before it is voted on, on Wednesday,’ Chaney said.

Barrett agreed with Chaney about the policy.

‘I’ve done a bit of reading and it isn’t in UofL’s and it’s not in Western’s,’ Barrett said of the policy, which gives automatic rights to the university to publish student works.

SGA President Keith Kaseke is on the Board of Regents and will have the opportunity to propose the amendment that is being promoted by several SGA members, including Chaney and Barrett.

‘The amendments I am going to propose are basically for them (Board of Regents) to add on to their revisions that they need to notify the students if they are going to use any of their (the students) property, for what ever purposes,’ Kaseke said. ‘It’s only common courtesy.’