Commercialising educational resources

At some time you may consider that an educational resource you have developed for your own teaching might have a market beyond the University. You may wish to share it with others or sell it. Before you proceed to do so, you need to check whether the resource includes material created by other people. If so, you need to consider copyright ownership and moral rights aspects of using that material.

If you are thinking of publishing material you have developed for teaching purposes, and it includes items that were copied under the statutory licences (CAL or Screenrights), you will not be able to rely on those licences. The licences are explained in the sections on Teaching support.

It is important to understand that material copied under the statutory licences for the educational purpose of the University may not be reproduced for any other purpose. You will have to obtain permission directly from the copyright owner to use it in a published version. So, for example, if you are developing your lecture notes into a textbook, and in your lecture notes you have used illustrations copied under the statutory licence, you cannot include those illustrations in the book, unless you obtain direct written permission from the copyright owner of the images. Another example is a subject website in which you included excerpts from TV programs copied under the statutory licence. Such a website could not be shared outside QUT without getting permissions from the program copyright owners.

In writing for permission you should be very clear about exactly what you want, how you intend to use it, the nature and purpose of the new work you are creating, the size and nature of the intended audience, and how you intend to distribute it. If you consult the websites of major publishers, you will often find quite detailed guidelines on how to ask for permission, or even an online form. You need to allow plenty of time for the process – plan months in advance. If you do not receive a reply from the copyright owner, you still cannot use the material. You should retain the permissions on file in such a way that you could produce them if required.

The Australian Copyright Council website provides information sheets that give further advice on seeking permissions and tracing copyright owners.

For more information on moral rights, refer to Plagiarism and moral rights.

For more information on commercialisation of intellectual property, please contact bluebox, the commercialisation and intellectual property management company for QUT.