Copyright of Materials Used at WSSB

Policy Approve By
Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent
Policy Date (original policy date)
Policy Prepared By
Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent
Policy Category


Faculty Copyright Agreement


To clarify ownership of intellectual property developed by WSSB staff.


·Material Developed without district time or resources

The ownership of any materials, processes or inventions developed solely by a faculty member’s individual effort and expense shall vest in the faculty member and be copyrighted or patented, if at all, in her/his name.

·Material developed with WSSB resources

The ownership of materials, processes, or inventions produced solely for the WSSB and at WSSB expense shall vest in the WSSB and be copyrighted or patented, if at all, in the WSSB name.

·Combined use of individuals resources and WSSB resources

In those instances where materials, processes or inventions are produced by a faculty member with WSSB support by way of use of significant personnel time, facilities, or other WSB resources, the ownership of the materials, processes or inventions shall vest in (and be copyrighted or patented by, if at all) the person designated by written agreement between the parties entered into prior to the production.  In the event there is no such written agreement entered into, the ownership shall vest in the WSSB.


·Prohibition on private gain

A state employee must not use state resources for private benefit or gain.  (see WAC 292-110-010(1).

·Prohibition on special privileges

RCW 42.52.070 provides that state officers or state employees may not use their official state positions to secure or grant special privileges.  Thus, if WSSB officers or employees allow the teacher to utilize WSSB resources to promote work owned solely by the teacher, those officers or employees may also be violating the Ethics Act.  The Executive Ethics Board has not approved many private uses of state facilities, even if the agency has agreed to the use.  Again, this would be a personal violation of the law.  The person, not the agency, is held liable and subject to sanction.

·Prohibition on Contracting with the State

When an employee contracts with the state in their private capacity (commissioned work to avoid “work for hire” provisions), the employee is faced with another provision of the Ethics in Public Service Act, RCW 42.52.030.  that section provides, in part, that no state officer or employee “may be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly, in a contract, sale, lease, purchase, or grant that may be made by, through, or is under the supervision of the officer or employee, in whole or in part, or accept, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity, or reward from any other person beneficially interested in the contract, sale, lease, purchase, or grant.”  RCW 42.52.030(1).  Although this provision does not preclude all contracts with the agency, it is liberally construed and the terms are broadly defined.  There are a number of other specific provisions in the Ethics Act to determine whether a state officer or employee is able to contract with the agency.  RCW 42.52.120 sets forth those conditions.

·Faculty Sole Ownership Agreement:  (attached)

This needs to be completed before work begins on the design and/ or production of materials and or a product.  Failure to do so results in ownership by the WSSB.