What is copyright for online courses?
The Internet today is one of the most demanded platforms for any kind of activity. Every day more and more people are switching to work online. In addition, this also applies to the education sector. How often do you see advertisements for online courses? Agree that there is a lot of it. And what about the copyright for these developments? An interesting question. That is why our specialists decided to analyze what features copyright for online courses has. Read more in this article.
Online courses, like any other object of educational activity (manuals, textbooks, collections, etc.), is protected by copyright. After all, these courses were created as a result of human creativity.
According to Ukrainian legislation in the field of intellectual property, copyright objects cannot be used by unauthorized persons without the consent of the author. Otherwise, in a judicial proceeding, the copyright holder may oblige the violator to pay material and moral compensation, as well as remove the illegally used materials from the sources where they were published.
Who owns the online courses?
This question is very relevant today, because many educational institutions mistakenly believe that materials created by their employees are also the property of the educational institution. Let’s talk about this in detail.
If an employee creates an intellectual property object using equipment or mechanisms that belongs to the company, or the creation of an object occurs during working hours, this does not mean that the ownership rights to such objects belong to the owners or founders of the company. The same goes for creating online courses. These materials can become the property of the enterprise only if their creation is provided for in the employment contract itself. If the creation of online courses is not the responsibility of the employee to the enterprise where he is employed, then the obtained rights to the intellectual property object belong exclusively to its author.
Let’s take a closer look at what conditions must be met in order for the online course developed by employees to be the property of the institution. So this:
- Developing an online course is a direct task. However, there is one nuance here – this order must be drawn up in writing (order, memo). Otherwise, the employee will always be able to say that he did not receive such a task, respectively, the copyright will belong to the author.
- The task (development of an online course) must be within the scope of an employment contract. What does this mean? It is not necessary that the document contains a column stating that the employee is obliged to create online courses, it may be spelled out that there is a duty to develop training materials (which, in principle, can include online courses). This condition assumes that the employee can create the object of intellectual property that relates to his field of activity. For example, a math teacher cannot create a history course – this will be outside the scope of the employment contract.
- Officially confirmed transfer of the developed course. So, at the time of the transfer of the intellectual property object (if it was executed according to the terms of the contract), it is necessary to draw up an appropriate document, which, in the event of a property conflict, will be able to confirm the fact of the transfer of the online course (this can be an act or a memo). If the document is not drawn up, then the employee can declare that he did not complete the ordered project, therefore the transfer procedure was not carried out.
- The developer has received remuneration in accordance with the contract. Important! This remuneration is paid in excess of wages and is additional.
Thus, if at least one of the conditions is not met, then the creator has a chance to remain the full copyright holder of the online course. In such a situation, an employee has every right, without the consent of the company’s management, to launch a course on his own behalf, from which to receive a certain income.
Online Course Agreement
What does a course contract mean? The question is difficult, because it has several aspects. Let’s talk about it.
First of all, it must be said that the creator is not always one person, there may be several. At the same time, there are situations when not all authors are aware of the existence of this or that intellectual property object. Why? For example, the developer of an online course used some kind of melody in his materials, then the composer of this piece of music becomes a co-author (although he does not even know about it). The biggest mistake of the creators is that they forget that with each such co-author it is necessary to draw up an agreement on the use of their materials. Of course, the existence of the course is possible without this agreement. However, if the co-author finds out about the illegal use of his intellectual property, then the developer will still have to pay compensation and, possibly, remove all published materials.
Let’s talk about an agreement that fits within an enterprise (educational institution) between managers and their employees. Such a procedure is quite rare, but it is the most correct decision regarding the development of an online course on the terms of an employment contract. In most cases, the author does not just create an online course, he also deals with future upgrades. The developer edits tests, keep in touch on the forum, add new materials, etc. It will not be profitable for an educational institution to lose an employee who thoroughly knows everything about the object, which at times requires making changes. Thus, conscientious leaders conclude a contract with an employee in advance, according to which the second undertakes to provide support for the online course for a certain period.
Interesting? Find out more! For example, how to patent a computer, board or online game .
Online education is evolving. And many people like to get the necessary knowledge without leaving home. Some people work hard, create courses and earn income, while others just wait for the right moment to steal an idea. In order for you not to get into such a situation and fall into the trap of unscrupulous competitors, go through the registration procedure for your online course in time. Having received the relevant Certificate, you will immediately have a number of advantages.
Want to know more? Then leave a request on our official website, and one of our specialists will contact you shortly.
Position: Lawyer in the field of intellectual property
Work experience: 8 years. Candidate of Legal Sciences.
Specialization: Deals with the protection and registration of intellectual property objects, writing claims and statements of claim. Registers objects in the customs register.
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