Copyrights

It is the policy of New Mexico State University to fully respect all rights that exist in any material protected by the copyright laws of the United States while also encouraging usage of the material that furthers the research mission of the university. The details of this policy can be found at: https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/intellectual-property/ip-policy/. This site provides guidance to creators (faculty, staff, and students) on the ownership of copyrighted material; however, this site is not comprehensive. For more information about copyrights, especially as they pertain to copyright usage, please visit the library page at: http://nmsu.libguides.com/copyright.

Please note, this guide is defined as a basic informational resource for the NMSU community. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Instead, it provides a framework for understanding and working with legal issues, including lawfully using and sharing copyrighted works, as well as protecting one’s own creative rights.

The Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (IP Office) at Arrowhead Center maintains intellectual property (IP) protection for NMSU creators who develop materials eligible for copyright. A copyright is defined as the right of creators to control the use of their work for a limited period of time; this work must be an original work of creatorship which is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Examples of copyrightable materials include:

  • Literary, musical, and dramatic works
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Sound recordings
  • Motion pictures and other AV works
  • Computer programs
  • Compilations of works and derivative works
  • Architectural works

While there are a number of materials that may be copyrighted, there are limitations. While ideas, procedures, methods, systems, and processes are not copyrightable, specific instructions may be protected. For example, if an author developed a recipe, they could obtain protection for the recipe’s instructions. Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans are not copyrightable. However, a slogan associated with a brand may be trademarked. Facts, news, and research are not copyrightable, but if inserted into a unique medium, they may be protected. An example of this is a calendar that displays NMSU’s chile cultivars on each page. Finally, works that are in the public domain and works that are not fixed in a tangible medium of expression may not obtain copyright protection.

Copyright terms typically provide protection for the life of the creator, plus an additional 70 years. However, corporate creators have protection for either 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. Once copyrighted, the owner of the copyright has these exclusive rights:

  • To reproduce the work
  • To distribute the work
  • To create derivative works
  • To publicly perform the work
  • To publicly display the work
  • To publicly perform sound recordings by means of a digital audio transmission

When a creator (faculty, student, or staff) at New Mexico State University develops new material that is exceptional or commercializable, it is required by university policy that the individual must disclose the use of NMSU resources in the creation of the material to determine if it extends beyond Limited Permitted Use. To disclose this information, creators must submit a Copyright Disclosure Form to the IP Office at Arrowhead Center and must also notify her/his supervisor.

To submit a copyright disclosure, simply download this form. Once downloaded, please provide the required information and return the form to the IP Office. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the copyright disclosure, please do not hesitate to contact Terry Lombard, Director of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Arrowhead Center at: tlombard@nmsu.edu.

Once a creator submits a copyright disclosure form, the staff at the IP Office will work to evaluate and protect the creative work for a copyright, depending on eligibility and other factors. Once the IP Office obtains copyright protection, the copyrighted material may be licensed out to an interested party.

For example, the Creative Media Institute (CMI) program at NMSU often participates in this process. Students within the CMI program produce creative works that are eligible for protection, and as such, are encouraged to submit a copyright disclosure anytime a work is created. As a result, the copyright protection process begins, which establishes ownership between the author and NMSU. These copyrights are then assigned to NMSU to begin the licensing process to other parties. All works disclosed that are available to license, including copyrighted materials, may be viewed here:

https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/technologies/

The copyright protection process occurs in the following steps:

  1. Evaluation and Protection – Once disclosed, the IP Office will evaluate whether use of resources beyond Limited Permitted Use is implied, and therefore whether the copyright is individual IP or university IP. Additionally, the IP Office will determine whether a registered or common law copyright is needed. The IP Office will maintain contact with the creator during the process.
  2. Research and Disclosure – Research refers to the creative processes involved in a use of NMSU resources beyond Limited Permitted Use. In the event a creator has a realization of exceptional or commercializable material(s) that needs intellectual property protection, they should disclose it to the IP Office, as well as their respective Department Head or Manager.
  3. Licensing and Commercialization – After the IP Office has secured a copyright, the IP Office will establish ownership or combined ownership. The copyright may be licensed out. If this occurs, the IP Office handles the distribution of earnings.