Students square up for ideas property battle

March 2, 2001

Cambridge University students are set for a battle over their intellectual property.

Students fear that the university intends to follow Oxford in claiming the fruits of any intellectual property generated by students in the course of their studies.

The students' fears have been stoked by a university policy proposal on intellectual property rights that would demand that students sign formal deals governing the exploitation of ideas.

In a senate-house debate last week, students vowed to fight any move to compromise their ownership of intellectual property. A student representative said such a step would be "ridiculous and selfish", as well as elitist.

"I find the suggestion of Cambridge moving towards claiming students' intellectual property quite unbelievable. Forcing us to sign away our rights will not happen without a fight. Is it so unreasonable for us to have the possibility of making a profit from what we produce during our time at Cambridge?" she said.

The planned intellectual property rules, which are designed to clarify the rules governing property specifically generated by research funded by external sources, also raised concerns among staff.

A proposed rule states: "The university will not claim ownership of copyright in normal academic forms of publication such as books, articles, lectures, or other similar works generated in the course of externally funded research."

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