IT student Kemi creates an app for an assessment and wants to publish it on an app store.
Who owns the rights to the app?
As introduced in Module 1: Copyright Basics, copyright is initially owned by the creator or their employer. Copyright may then be transferred by agreement.
At Deakin, students own copyright in their original work. However, if your work is part of a group assessment or made under an agreement then ownership may be more complex.
Copyright in a work can be shared, particularly for collaborative work. If you create something as part of a group, copyright ownership may become quite complex. It is important to remember that only authors and creators own copyright. If a group member only contributes ideas or does editing, they will not own any of the copyright.
In order to make additional copies of a group assignment, you would ordinarily need permission from every author and creator.
During your studies you may need to enter an agreement to participate in coursework or research. This may include internships, work placements and research projects. You should ensure you understand any agreement before signing it because they can vary your ownership of copyright and other intellectual property.
For example, you might complete a work placement at a graphic design company. A condition of your placement might require you to transfer all intellectual property created by you. Anything you produce as part of your placement will now be owned by the company and you will have limited rights to re-use your own work.
Part of studying at Deakin involves agreeing to our policies. All copyright in student works is licenced to Deakin in order to administer your studies. This includes storing your assessments for record keeping and checking documents for collusion. This licence does not limit the ways in which you can use your copyright.
Who do you think owns the rights to the app that Kemi created?
Kemi owns copyright in the works they make while studying at Deakin. If they made the app as part of a group, the rights would be shared among the group. If the app was made during a work placement, Kemi should check the agreement they signed for the placement.