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Copyright Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help faculty and students use materials legally without having to understand a lot of legalese

Who owns work created by students?

South Dakota State University students generally own the copyrights of their creative works, including theses and dissertations. 

Student employees of South Dakota State University, like faculty, have the rights to their works waived back to them from the Board of Regents unless it is a work commissioned by SDSU or done as part of a contract with a third party. Student work is subject to the Board retention of the no-cost license for use of these materials within the BOR system.

Privacy Rights in Student Created Works

In addition to copyright, there are other privacy issues that may arise with the use of student created work. Be sure to get permission to use a work created by a student.

Sponsored or Externally Contracted Works

Works created under a contract, grant, or other agreement are governed by the contract or grant. If ownership of copyright is not specified in the contract or grant, the work is owned by the creator.

Student Artwork

Copyright to artworks created by students for a class or for their senior art show is owned by the student. The right to display their work publicly is the student's to control. Students retain the right to allow or prevent photos of their work. If a photo of the work is taken, the copyright for the photo belongs to the photographer.

Student Course Notes

Generally, lectures are not considered to be protectable content as they consist largely of facts, ideas, concepts, or principles. Student notes on lectures can be used in any non-commercial way since they are paying to take the class.

If creative work that is copyrightable is being presented in class or if commercial applications are being applied, student notes would be considered on a case-by-case basis. As long as they are not being shared publicly, students should be able to take notes freely.

Faculty Using Student Created Work

Faculty must ask students for permission to use work created by the student for any reason other than grading. Permission must be in writing and be specific as to how the work will be used and for what time frame.

Faculty should also be aware that some works may infringe on a student's privacy and various privacy policies such as FERPA as well as copyright.

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