Ownership of Digital Educational Resources

Sometimes the University invests significant resources in helping you develop educational materials. Sometimes it doesn’t. This document can help you determine either way, and what it means for ownership of the materials.

Georgia State University’s Intellectual Property Policy describes ownership of intellectual property (IP) developed at the University. Digital Educational Resources include any learning object presented in digitally mediated form, including but not limited to syllabi, assessments, assignments, lecture notes, videos, photos, PowerPoints, digital documents, infographics, animations, and visualizations or collections thereof. Contributions to shared curriculum databases, documents, visualizations, learning object repositories, and other means of coordinating or organizing the design, storage, and delivery of digital learning objects, including online course shells and templates, are also considered Digital Educational Resources. This guidance does not apply to Digital Educational Resources purchased or licensed from a vendor.

  1. University-Assisted Effort – the design, development, or dissemination of the digital educational resource involved Significant Use of University Resources1: If not specified otherwise in a written agreement, you and the University jointly own the digital educational resource.
  2. University-Assigned Effort – the design, development, or dissemination of the digital educational resource was developed pursuant to a written, signed agreement between the University and Creator:If not specified otherwise in a written agreement, the University owns the digital educational resource and grants you rights to use the digital educational resource for non-commercial purposes on a non-exclusive2 basis and it cannot be transferred or sub-licensed during your employment or thereafter.
  3. Sponsor-Supported Effort – the design, development, or dissemination of the digital educational resource was completed with assistance from an external sponsor: If not specified otherwise in a written agreement, the University owns the digital educational resource and grants you rights to use the digital educational resource for non-commercial purposes on a non-exclusive2 basis and it cannot be transferred or sub-licensed during your employment or thereafter.
  4. Individual Effort – the design, development, or dissemination of the digital educational resource was completed without Significant Use of University Resources, without assistance from an external sponsor, and not pursuant to a written, signed agreement between the University and Creator: You own the digital educational resource and grant the University non-exclusive rights to use the digital educational resource during your employment and for one year after your departure.

Please direct any questions to Gwen Spratt in the Office of Legal Affairs at gspratt@gsu.edu.


1 Stipends, summer salary, course releases, professional development or travel money, instructional design services, multimedia design or development, curricular or pedagogical consulting, and project management or coordination provided by the University are all examples of Significant Use of University Resources. Examples of insignificant use of university resources include access to University-owned computers or software (including iCollege and integrated software), office space, library resources, tech support, learning technology training and troubleshooting, access to CETLOE recording studios, and CETLOE checkout equipment.

2 This means that the rights being granted can be granted by the University to others.