Students’ IP is their own

September 4, 2014

I was astonished to learn from Sebastian Conran (“Letting the engine idle”, Opinions, 14 August) that Plymouth University, among other institutions, requires students when they register to sign away their intellectual property rights in anything they create while studying at the institution.

Presumably that institution, and any others that follow the same policy, are unaware of the Jisc Legal Investigation into Student Work and Intellectual Property Rights, as well as Ann Monotti and Sam Ricketson’s standard legal text, Universities and Intellectual Property: Ownership and Exploitation, both of which confirm that any such requirement would be considered an unfair contractual term by the courts. The sooner institutions read these documents and amend their policies, the better they will avoid the embarrassment of the negative media coverage that would inevitably result from a case brought by their students.

Charles Oppenheim
University of Northampton

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