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Case study: open educational practice & Intellectual property

Feedback from focus groups and from general discussions shows a great deal of confusion and lack of general clarity and understanding as the main IPR problems for staff.

Case study: OEP and Intellectual property rights

The IPR culture at UAL as I have known it has always been dismissive of IPR policy, the general rule of thumb is ‘don’t go there’. The ALTO project, running in parallel with the SCORE fellowship provide sufficient support and development in the complex area of UALs ‘out dated’ intellectual property rights policy. The ALTO project had achieved some useful groundwork in the areas of policy change/awareness, specifically within the adoption and use of creative commons licence, although the wider IPR concerns and the reality of creative commons and OER IPR are largely unresolved.

IPR UAL case study
This SCORE case study highlights potential future issues and conflicts between old and new IPR cultures and policies. Mid way through my fellowship I found a resource produced as a ‘handbook’ on our institutional research repository. The resource had been produced by a member of UAL staff and deposited into the research repository and on Jorum under a BY creative commons licence for over 2 years and was the output of a UAL funded fellowship project. I copied the resource as a whole and shared on process.arts unchanged under an equivalent licence. The resource was on process.arts for over 6 months and received a great response. I decided to contact the author so ‘they’ could share in positive feedback the resource was attracting. In response I received a very strong and aggressive series of emails demanding I remove the handbook from process.arts as it had since been published and I would be prosecuted by the publishes for a breach of copyright.

Without question I removed the resource, luckily I knew where I could pass this issue on to a relevant support/department within my university called center for learning and teaching CLTAD. Fortunately they dealt with the wider implications and matters were resolved. For me and I predict for others who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future, the whole process of dealing with angry authors, serious threats and other complexities can be very stressful one. On a positive note this event has helped to highlight ‘real world’ problems within UALs current IPR and IP policy. It’s hoped the work and experiences of SCORE, ALTO and DIAL will support and promote future discussion and policy change in this area.   

The handbook itself was removed from all open web spaces and made unavailable online, the 96 page handbook was only available through the online publisher at a cost of just under £40. Prior to all this the handbook received thousands of views and comments and was listed top rank in online searches showing in process.arts, research online and Jorum (not showing on the publishers site), it now does not exist in any searches and therefore off the students radar of useful resources. 

There's a couple of links below of where IP for open educational practice has been addressed:

What does open educational practice mean to you? -

IPR tag on process.arts -


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