Ownership and Protection of Your Work

As soon as you, as an author/creator, set down your writing, diagram, painting, music, sculpture, etc. in a ‘tangible form of expression,’ it is protected by copyright.  In the U.S. copyright ownership belongs to the author/creator unless the work is considered a work for hire, created within the scope of employment or specially ordered or commissioned as a work for hire.

Copyright does not protect some things, like facts, names, short phrases, and methods.  However, trademark law can be used to protect names and short phrases, and patent law can be used to protect methods. 

USF Policy

The USF Inventions and Works Policy and Regulation addresses what works are considered a work for hire at USF and describe the types of works, inventions, and situations where the USF Technology Transfer Office will work with faculty creators and researchers to disseminate and protect the work or invention.

Works created for scholarly communication, like research articles, conference presentations, and monograph publications are copyright to the author under USF Policy.  Likewise, instructional material created by an instructor for use in a class is copyright to the instructor so long as they did not use appreciable USF resources to create the work.  If a USF employee creates a work that does not fall into these two categories, they should disclose their work to the Technology Transfer Office, using the form below.

Other Resources for Researchers