Intellectual property (IP) rights that attach to the work of their academics could become significant and valuable assets to the university as an institution and economic organisation. This empirical study involved an analysis of the copyright and intellectual property policies of universities in the UK and the interviewing of specialised representatives of universities in relation to such policies. The principal question of the study was the way in which university policies deal with the issue of ownership of copyright generated by academic staff, which proved to be a sensitive area. University policies presume that, by default, they own all work that academics create as their employees. There seems to be insufficient appreciation of the differentiated legal interpretation of the employees’ copyright rule. At least in relation to core academic work (scholarly books and journal articles in particular), initial copyright ownership by the university, by virtue of the statutory employee copyright rule, is highly doubtful. As a result of the universities’ principal position with regard to ownership, university IP policies have resorted to complicated and artificial assignment and licencing provisions, with questionable enforceability.

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Convenors: Graeme Dinwoodie, Dev Gangjee & Robert Pitkethly Directions to the seminar room from the Porter's Lodge. Refreshments provided, all are welcome (registration not required. Please direct enquiries to