Dr. Randy Bobbitt is Director of the Journalism and Public Relations Program at the University of West Florida at Fort Walton Beach. He obtained his Ph.D in communications law and policy from Bowling Green State University. He is the author of West Virginia Media Law: A Guide for Journalists in the Mountain State (West Virginia Press Association, 1999). He has also published articles in Communication World, Public Relations Quarterly, and Public Relations Journal.2006 0-7734-5661-9
This book examines the intellectual property conflicts that occur when college professors develop new courses to be delivered by electronic means, such as through the Internet. At many universities, faculty members are encouraged to develop such courses, but are required to sign intellectual property agreements that allow the institutions to re-package the courses, license them to other universities and enjoy the profits, with the faculty members receiving nothing other than a one-time “development fee.” While intellectual property conflicts between employers and employees in private industry have been common for years, such conflicts between faculty members and the universities that employ them are just now becoming common in the American legal system. The primary theoretical consideration in this research is related to the fundamentals of constitutional law. There are occasional conflicts between intellectual property law and concepts of free speech, both of which are provided for in the U.S. Constitution.