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Protecting Your Works

Teaching and Research

At JMU, traditionally faculty and students have been granted the copyrights in their works (more)." This includes teaching materials, classroom assignments, and research publications among others. Except under certain circumstances, the course materials you create, including lectures, syllabi, etc. are the property of you, the teaching faculty member (more). Students must have faculty permission to record lectures in a permanent tangible form like an audio or video recording, or even an exact transcript (more).

Student coursework

For the most part, student work remains the property of the student who retains the exclusive rights of an author. Two notable exceptions are written assignments which are submitted using SafeAssign, and artistic performances.


Faculty, students and staff generally do not obtain patents. Except under specific circumstances, creators of patentable properties should submit a disclosure form to the Office of Technology Transfer who will forward them to a committee made up of administration and faculty (more).

Publishing and Scholarly Communication

JMU generally allows researchers (both student and faculty) to retain the exclusive rights to their research publications (more). However, publishers often do not willingly offer you that courtesy. Fortunately, it is unlikely that you could lose copyright protection in your protectable works without your active participation (more).

Often publishers will present publishing agreements that transfer copyright to the publisher. However, it is becoming more common for publishers to accept "non-exclusive licenses" to publish your work (more).

Many faculty also want to use their own work, even after it has been published (more). You might be quite limited, if you have transfered all of your rights to a publisher. In fact, some uses might actually infringe the copyright, which is now owned by the publisher (more).

Click here to go to Publishing and Scholarly Communication page.

Additional Help

The JMU Copyright Coordinator will be happy to look at your publication agreement with you (more).