Skip to Main Content

Student Copyright and Intellectual Property: Home

This guide contains copyright and IP information about works created at the University by students.

Students and Copyright

For Students

Kent State University students, by University Policy, own the copyright to works they create for your courses or for the fulfilment of your degree requirements. This includes papers, short stories, poetry, original music, painting, sculpture, choreography, computer programs, theses, and dissertations...any "original works" in a "fixed and tangible medium." Because ideas cannot be copyrighted, these works must be original, creative expressions of ideas, whether word processed, painted on canvas, notated, recorded, or sculpted. The creator owns the copyright for the first and any subsequent drafts, all the way to the finished work. Works do NOT need to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to be copyrighted; copyright is automatic once the original expression of an idea is in a fixed and tangible medium. Students who wish to register their works may follow these instructions at Copyright Registration.

For Faculty

Faculty who wish to use exemplary student work in their classrooms should first obtain permission from the student who created it. See the link below for an example release form.

Works for Hire

Works made for hire are defined by the University and by U.S. Law as "work[s] prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment," or certain works "specially ordered or commissioned" if the parties so agree in writing. Therefore, students and other University employees do not own the copyright to work prepared as part of on-campus jobs or for which they receive a stipend. Other ownership restrictions may be detailed in a contract or other agreement.

Patents, Licenses, and Trademarks

Patents and licenses provide an appropriate means for developing and using inventions. The University's policy regarding patents has been adopted to ensure that those creative developments in which the university has an interest will be used in a manner most beneficial to the public interest. 

University logos and mascots such as Flash are protected by trademark law and licensed to entities who wish to use them, such as t-shirt shops.

Resources for Students