3.1 Standard Elements

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Nearly all policies contain general statements about the museum's mission and core activities, its IP philosophy, values, and principles, and the reason why the policy is deemed necessary for the museum. Although these elements are discussed separately below, they are often combined in one or two sections of a policy. The "General Principle Statements" listed below, for example, are frequently articulated in a broad introductory or preamble statement inserted at the beginning of a policy.

3.1.1 General Principle Statements

General principle statements provide the institutional context that ties the policy to its broader purpose. Museums can derive information for these statements from the following: The Museum's Mission and Core Activities

Since good policy is rooted in the mission of an institution, a museum's IP policy should begin by restating and reaffirming the museum's core mission and activities. Brief mission statements are often included in policies in whole or part (longer ones frequently are edited to include only the most salient concepts). Sometimes the mission is listed in a separate statement; other times it is embedded within a broader statement of purpose about the policy (as in the Princeton University policy example, below).


From the Indianapolis Museum of Art Policy on Intellectual Property:Footnote 42

The Mission of the Indianapolis Museum of Art is to enable a large and diverse audience to see, understand and enjoy the best of the world's visual arts; to this end the museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets original works of art.

From Princeton University Intellectual Property Policy:Footnote 43

The University's policies concerning intellectual property are intended to further its central mission - the sustained production, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge - while exercising due care for its fiduciary responsibility for the resources it administers. The Museum's IP Philosophy, Values, and Principles

The philosophy, values, and principles that guide a museum's day-to-day decision making on IP issues offer insight into the spirit and aspirations behind the policy. Concepts frequently conveyed in such philosophy statements are:

  • The importance of IP to the institution (as both a user and owner of IP)
  • The institution's broad obligations and responsibilities towards IP
  • The importance of creativity and sharing to the development of a culturally rich society
  • Respect for the rule of law
  • Reinvestment of IP revenues in the education and mission of the museum
  • Behaviors promoted (e.g., respect for the rights of others) or prohibited (e.g., infringements)

From The J. Paul Getty Trust Employee Handbook:Footnote 44

Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, the right to privacy, and the right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution.

Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secrets and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the Getty community including visiting scholars and interns as well as full- and part-time Getty staff.

From the Cornell University Copyright Policy:Footnote 45

Cornell University is committed to providing an environment that supports the research and teaching activities of its faculty, students and staff. As a matter of principle and practice, the University encourages all members of the Cornell community to publish without restriction their papers, books, and other forms of communication in order to share openly and fully their findings and knowledge with colleagues and the public. The Museum's Reasons for Developing the Policy

It is critical that those whom the policy governs (or even more broadly, those who simply read the policy) understand why the policy is necessary and what areas it addresses. These statements of "policy intent and purpose" can be derived by simply asking, "why does the museum need this policy?" Some of the more common reasons for IP policy development are:

  • Legal, regulatory, or fiduciary mandates (e.g., a parent organization requires the institution to create the policy, or a law requires an institution to have the policy in place in order to qualify for certain legal provisions)
  • Conflicts or problems that the policy will help resolve
  • Recognition of the legitimate interests of all parties
  • Overall benefits of having a policy: to provide guidance to staff, promote consistency in policies across departments, foster innovations and activities related to mission, etc.
  • To help the institution achieve its future goals and objectives


From the Indianapolis Museum of Art Policy on Intellectual Property:Footnote 46 Purpose of the Policy: To provide guidance for the

Museum's understanding and use of the intellectual property of others, including the issue of fair use, in order support the integrity of the museum's mission statement...

From the Cornell University Copyright Policy:Footnote 47

The Copyright Policy is intended to promote and encourage excellence and innovation in scholarly research and teaching by identifying and protecting the rights of the University, its faculty, staff, and students.

From the University of Texas Regent's Rules and Regulations, Part Two, Chapter XII Intellectual Property:Footnote 48

Sec. 1 Philosophy and Objectives

It is the objective of the Board to provide an intellectual property policy that will encourage the development of inventions and other intellectual creations for the best interest of the public, the creator, and the research sponsor, if any, and that will permit the timely protection and disclosure of such intellectual property whether by development and commercialization ..., by publication, or both. The policy is further intended to protect the respective interests of all concerned by ensuring that the benefits of such property accrue to the public, to the inventor, to the System and to sponsors of specific research in varying degrees of protection, monetary return, and recognition, as circumstances justify or require....

3.1.2 Administrative Statements

Policies also contain administrative statements that identify whom the policy applies to, who is responsible for its administration and oversight, and how the policy is approved and amended. These administrative details are important, for they ensure the policy will become an effective governance document and not simply an academic exercise. Identifying Who the Policy Addresses

For clarity and enforcement, the policy needs to identify the individuals or groups it governs, and the audiences it will affect. At a minimum, the policy applies to a museum's employees, but the universe of people affected by the policy may be much broader. Many individuals who are not paid staff work in or with museums, and use museum assets for scholarship purposes (researchers and students) or to assist in museum efforts (docents and other volunteers). The policy may need to govern and direct the behaviors of these individuals as well as the museum's paid employees.

When deciding who must observe your IP policy, consider the following groups and the extent to which they use the museum's own IP assets, or third party assets on behalf of the museum:

  • Employed staff
  • Consultants and contractors (e.g., guest curators, freelance authors, commissioned artists, contracted software developers, etc.)
  • Volunteers (e.g., docents, guest lecturers)
  • Interns
  • Researchers/scholars/teachers
  • Students
  • Individuals involved in staff exchanges or seconded to the museum for particular projects


From the Indianapolis Museum of Art Policy on Intellectual Property:Footnote 49

This policy applies to all staff and volunteers, part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent. This policy also applies to contractors or free-lance workers and should be included in any work-for-hire agreement.

In addition to identifying who the policy addresses, policies often include "statements of compliance" that inform staff of their responsibility to follow the policy, and make it clear that failure to do so will have repercussions. Statements such as those in the following examples outline the role of individual responsibility and the consequences for failing to assume that role.


From the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Copyright Policy:Footnote 50

This Policy applies to faculty, staff, and students of the University. Compliance with the terms of this policy is a condition of employment for University faculty and staff, and of enrollment for University students....

From Adoptable Copyright Policy, Sample Policy:Footnote 51

Employees who willfully disregard the institution's Board Copyright Policy, or the specific provisions of the Faculty Copyright Manual, do so at their own risk and assume all liability, including the possibility of dismissal for persistent copyright infringements. Policy Administration and Oversight

Establishing administrative oversight for the policy, and outlining the way that oversight is conducted, are critical factors for ensuring that the policy is implemented and that all those who are governed by it know whom to contact when policy issues arise. Designating a Policy Administrator

A policy must identify an individual or committee as the policy administrator or overseer. Institutions increasingly are assigning this duty to an individual who is formally referred to as an "IP Officer" (other variations of this title include "IP Manager" or "Copyright Officer") or to a group designated as an "IP Committee". Ideally, the IP Officer/Committee is "not a police officer, but is an information provider and a coordinator of (IP) transactions."Footnote 52 Staff should be encouraged to contact this person/committee on all issues related to the policy, from interpretation to implementation.

Policy oversight can be a time consuming effort. Small to mid-size museums with manageable amounts and uses of IP assets probably can assign this responsibility to an existing staff member or committee of staff members. If your museum decides to go this route, the people you appoint as overseers should be well versed in museum IP issues and practices, and IP law. Rights and reproductions personnel, librarians, editors, and media production staff often are candidates for this position.

Larger museums, or museums with a high volume of IP usage, may need to create a special "IP Officer" staff position. This newly emerging profession is gaining acceptance in large organizations such as universities, where centralization and coordination of IP activity requires a specialist position. Museums have been slower to accept this concept, although some larger museums, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle's Experience Music Project, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and London's Tate Gallery all have created this position within their respective institutions.

The choice between a committee or an individual as a policy administrator is largely a matter of institutional circumstances and preferences. While an IP Officer can address issues more immediately than a committee of individuals who must coordinate schedules, committees have an advantage in that they can share the administrative duties among their various members. Identifying the Policy Administrator's Duties

The responsibility and authority of the policy administrator is usually outlined within the policy. To identify the duties for your policy administrator, consider what it would take to implement and monitor the policy in your museum. Generally larger institutions demand more of their policy administrator than smaller ones because they have more departments, people, and uses to which the policy applies. Smaller institutions may need their policy administrator to serve only as a "point person" for the policy.

Some of the duties commonly assigned to a policy administrator include:

  • Implementing the policy
  • Preparing and distributing materials (such as announcements, manuals, procedures) that support the policy
  • Conducting training and information programs to assure employees are aware and knowledgeable about the policy
  • Answering questions about the policy and relevant areas of IP law that the policy addresses
  • Monitoring the policy to ensure it is being followed
  • Maintaining records of permissions, agreements, and licenses of the museum's IP assets and third party IP assets
  • Ensuring policy compliance among staff and all who fall within the scope of the policy
  • Ensuring the policy is reviewed at designated intervals


From the Virginia Museum of Natural History Copyright and Patent Policy:Footnote 53

A Museum committee on Copyrights and Patents (Hereinafter Committee) shall be appointed by the Director, who shall have all the authority necessary to the proper administration of this policy. The Committee shall consist of the Division Directors, two curators, and two other staff.

From the Royal Ontario Museum Information Management and Library Policy:Footnote 54

The Governance Committee will monitor management and staff's adherence to this policy. The Museum's Copyright Officer will oversee the implementation, management and adherence to the precepts outlined in this policy and shall report annually to the Director about monitoring activities undertaken.

From the Groton Public School Copyright Policy - Copyright Implementation Manual: Part 2:Footnote 55

To facilitate compliance, the Director of Media Technology Services shall be responsible for:

  • enforcing this Copyright Policy;
  • distributing and periodically revising the Copyright Implementation Manual;
  • conducting training programs to assure that employees understand copyright and fair use;
  • answering questions about the copyright law;
  • maintaining appropriate records of permissions, agreements,licenses, and registrations;
  • placing appropriate copyright warning notices on or near copying equipment;
  • and other related duties, as needed.

From the University of North Carolina Copyright Use and Ownership Policy:Footnote 56

The chief executive officer of each Institution shall designate an administrative office, officer, or unit responsible for implementing this policy. The designated institutional administrative entity shall address various matters covered by this Policy, including developing policies and procedures designed to supplement and interpret the ownership aspects of this Policy, providing advice regarding ownership of specific works, releasing institutional rights, and accepting an assignment of rights to the Institution from an author or creator of a work. Policy Review

IP policies must be reviewed periodically to keep them relevant with changes in law, technologies, and the museum's mission. To ensure that such reviews take place, review statements are inserted into the policy. These statements mandate and authorize the review, and state the intervals at which it will take place. It is the responsibility of the policy administrator to keep track of when a review is due, and to initiate the review process.


From the California State University, Monterey Bay's Development, Coordination and Approval PolicyFootnote 57:

7.100 Continuous Renewal
This policy shall be assessed in three years from its effective date to determine its effectiveness and appropriateness. This policy may be assessed before that time to reflect substantive change as a result of California State University Monterey Bay's infrastructure build out.

From the McMaster University Intellectual Property Policy:Footnote 58

15.1 This policy shall be reviewed by the IP Board no more than five (5) years after its coming-into-force. The IP Board shall, as part of such review, provide recommendations for the improvement of this policy. Policy Certification/Approval History

Policies often include statements about the history and chronology of the policy document. Information such as the date the policy was approved and amended, and the signatories who gave final approval, help to reinforce the policy's credibility and official nature. In addition, acknowledgement of the groups who developed the policy -- the representational bodies and primary decision-makers -- acknowledges the stakeholders' interests and the voices that were critical to the policy's creation.

Statements that outline the history of the policy's development and approval status take many forms, from lengthy narratives to succinct notations listed in the "header" or "footer" of the document.


From the McMaster University Intellectual Property Policy:Footnote 59

  • Complete Policy Title: OWNERSHIP OF STUDENT WORK
  • Policy Number (if applicable): n/a
  • Approved by: Graduate Council
  • Date of Most Recent Approval:
  • Revision Date(s):

From the Indianapolis Museum of Art Policy on Intellectual Property:Footnote 60

Prepared by the IMA Photography Services Department - Rights and Reproductions, 2001, with input from the 1997-1998 IMA Copyright Committee and IMA 2001 Intellectual Property and Imaging Policies Committee with guidance from the Director of Collections Support.

From Columbia University 's State of Policy On Proprietary Rights In The Intellectual Products Of Faculty Activity:Footnote 61

This Policy Statement, which was adopted by the Trustees on , revises and supersedes the Policy Statement dated and all other policy statements on the subject. The Policy Statement was prepared by the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate with respect to faculty appointed as officers of instruction, and was adopted by the University Senate on and approved by the Trustees of the University on with respect to officers of instruction, and with respect to other officers and staff of the University as well. On , the University Senate adopted a resolution to make the Policy Statement applicable to all students not already covered by the Statement by virtue of their student officer appointments, and on , the Trustees of the University approved such resolution, thereby making the Policy Statement applicable to all students of the University, effective . Dispute Resolution

In the life of any policy there are likely to be instances when an employee or other individual governed by the policy is at odds with the institution over a policy issue. In such instances it is important to have some sort of dispute resolution process in place. Ideally, this process should be spelled out in the policy for all to see: doing so ensures consistency and fairness in how disputes are addressed.

Museums usually address the issue of disputes in their employee policies and may reference these procedures in their IP policy as the preferred method for resolving IP disputes. If, however, your dispute resolution procedures for IP differ from your regular methods for resolving disputes, you should identify in the IP policy the specific resolution process you intend to follow.


From H-Net's Policy on Copyright and Intellectual Property:Footnote 62

…Resolving Disputes over Posting of Copyrighted Materials

  1. The first, and normally the final, locus of decision is with the editor and network advisory board. This decision should be taken in consultation with the fellow editors and advisory board and, where necessary, MSU's (Michigan State University) intellectual property attorneys.
  2. The editorial affairs committee will consider such cases that are referred to it by the editors and board, or by a copyright-owner appealing the final decision of the list. If referred to the editorial affairs committee, the committee will consider the case, apply the criteria outlined above, consult with outside experts and the H-Net copyright committee where necessary, and give its opinion.
  3. If the opinion of editorial affairs is disputed, then the matter is referred to the executive committee, whose decision would be binding unless overturned by legal authorities.
  4. As editor-in-chief of H-Net, the associate director will serve as facilitator in the appeals process.

From the Johns Hopkins Medicine, Intellectual Property Guidelines, Royalty And Equity Distribution Formulas:Footnote 63

In the event an Inventor has a grievance about the University's handling of his/her Intellectual Property, he/she may appeal to the appropriate Divisional mechanism. An Investigator may take a grievance to the Office of the Provost if: his/her Division has no appeals mechanism or; he/she wishes to appeal a Divisional decision.

From the George Washington University Copyright Policy:Footnote 64

Disputes on copyright matters, including the interpretation of this Policy, shall be referred to the Patent and Scholarly Works Review Panel for review and recommendation. The Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies (non-medical) or the Associate Vice President for Research for the Medical Center shall make a ruling on the dispute. Any appeal of a ruling by either official will be heard by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will then make the final ruling.

3.1.3 Definitions

Although policies should be jargon-free, even the most clearly written policies cannot avoid using terms or phrases that are subject to multiple interpretations. To avoid misunderstandings, policy writers often include a "definitions" section in their policies to clarify the usage of specific terms. Definitions can help reduce the "grey areas" of your policy that often surface when using nonspecific phrases like "substantial use" (What constitutes "substantial use" of museum resources?) or "claims an interest in" (What kind of interest? Financial? Ownership? Recognition?).

In museum IP policies, some of the more generic terms or phrases that are frequently defined include: employee, volunteer, a work, creator, intellectual property (and the various legal regimes of copyright, trademark, patent), fair use, moral rights, commercial use, and research use. Terms or phrases specific to a particular institution may also be defined: for example, the various IP policies of the Royal Ontario Museum include definitions for "ROM resources" and "ROM funds" (see below). Terms frequently defined in the IP policies of universities and other nonprofit organizations, such as "work for hire," or "substantial use of institutional resources," may also be relevant in some museum contexts.

Definitions included in IP policies can be listed alphabetically in a separate section of the policy (e.g., "Section 3.2 - Definitions") or embedded within a particular section of the policy where the term or phrase is first used (e.g., "The Museum also owns the intellectual property rights. "Intellectual property rights" are.....").


From the Royal Ontario Museum Copyright Policy:Footnote 65

Explanation of Terms

employee: an individual who fills a position approved by the President & CEO and who receives monetary compensation. ROM employees include senior management, supervisory and exempt staff, unionized employees and individuals employed by the ROM for a limited duration.....

ROM funds: funds, regardless of source, that are administered under the control or authority of the ROM.

ROM resources: a term that includes ROM facilities, funds, human resources, and intangible properties including trademarks, information records and research data.

volunteer: a term that applies to all individuals who provide their time and service to an activity that supports the objectives of the ROM and is authorized and sponsored by the ROM, and for which they are not paid by the ROM. Volunteers include, but are not limited to, members of the Department of Museum Volunteers and the ROM Reproductions Association, trustees, research associates, departmental associates, field associates, curators emeritus, post-secondary or graduate students working in a curatorial department or in the field, and secondary-school students working on a cooperative-education term on Museum premises or volunteering in the Hands-on Discovery galleries....

From The Henry Ford, Policies and Procedures Memorandum Nº. 23A, Intellectual Property:Footnote 66

…The Museum owns such workproduct whether an employee is paid wages or a salary. "Workproduct" includes literary materials, photographs, mechanical materials, audiovisual materials, architectural works, scale models, dramatic works, musical works, and other creative products.

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