Who Owns What’s Inside the Professor’s Head

Author: Bobbitt, Randy
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.


“ ... a few decades ago university professors viewed intellectual property as an arcane topic that was only peripheral to their teaching and research interests. But all that has changed with the explosion of the Internet and the digitization of most information … a faculty member’s prestige, marketability and future earnings are tied to intellectual property and the issue of the ownership of Internet courses … a faculty member who ignores this teaching technology, do so at his or her financial peril.” – (From the Foreword) F. Dennis Hale, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University

“... this book looks at the historical and all-important Constitutional foundations of intellectual property law, including its European origins and key ramifications dealing with the First Amendment … the [author] organized his material well and presented it clearly and logically … this book [is] academically sound with appropriate analyses ...” – Professor Dennis Lebec, Mercyhurst College

“Readers of this [work] will learn what contract issues to avoid should they be involved in the growing discipline of distance learning and alternative course delivery systems ... [this work] will arm employees and, more specifically, faculty members with the background to negotiate fair compensation for their creations ... I highly recommend this book for the advice it provides instructors in the growing arena of distance learning ... " – Dr. Randy Hines, Susquehanna University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Historical and Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property Law
3. Intellectual Property in the Workplace
4. Intellectual Property Conflicts in Higher Education
5. Intellectual Property Conflicts and Electronic Courses
6. Conclusion
List of Cases