Intellectual Property Policy

ArtCenter has established this Intellectual Property Policy to promote a varied and rich educational experience by ensuring that ideas can be freely exchanged, but with an understanding that work product can have value. By attending, teaching at or otherwise being employed by ArtCenter and participating in the educational process, all members of the ArtCenter community agree to abide by this Intellectual Property Policy.


Student(s): individuals are considered Students when they are enrolled in “for credit” or “not for credit” courses or classes at ArtCenter whether full-time, part-time, matriculated, or non-matriculated.

Faculty: individuals are considered Faculty when employed or otherwise compensated to lecture, teach or develop materials related to “for credit” or “not for credit” courses, classes, or curriculum at ArtCenter. Faculty also includes library faculty, visiting scholars/lecturers, and individuals holding faculty rank and status at ArtCenter while engaged in research or other projects.

Staff: all individuals employed by the College, full-time or part-time, and including workers hired on a temporary basis, are considered Staff other than when acting in the capacity of Student or Faculty. Students are considered Staff for works created as part of work-study or teaching assistantship assignments. Staff shall also include all volunteer contractors servicing the ArtCenter community, except for individuals acting within their capacity as members of the Board of Trustees.

Intellectual Property Rights: All legally protectable intellectual property rights, including copyright, patent, trademark, service mark, and trade secret, excluding any Use Rights provided under this Intellectual Property Policy.

Works: All works of authorship, artistic works, inventions, and other such work products to which Intellectual Property Rights may attach, including:

  • Works: Works created by faculty or students in the course of their individual scholarly, academic, and artistic pursuits and in the scope of their respective employment or student status at the College, including instructional materials produced by faculty for use in the course of classroom and studio activities, works of art or scholarship produced by faculty or students in the course of classroom and studio activities, and the like.
  • Sponsored Works: Works created by faculty or students with the sponsorship or other special support of the College or an external entity, including works created in classes sponsored by external entities. College-Commissioned Works: Works created by faculty or students at the specific request of the College and not in the course of their individual scholarly, academic, and artistic pursuits, including materials created for use in or as special College publications and promotional materials, logos, graphic or other designs, commemorative items, and the like.
  • Administrative and Other Works: Works created by faculty in the course and scope of their employment other than Scholarly and Artistic, Sponsored, and College-Commissioned Works, including evaluations of student work, correspondence and memos, materials prepared in connection with work on College committees, materials created for use in routine College bulletins, brochures, and catalogs, and the like; and Works created by staff (including student employees) in the course and scope of their employment.

Use Rights: The non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, and irrevocable rights of a specified party to make specified uses of specified Works, with appropriate attribution, in those cases in which the specified party does not exclusively hold the Intellectual Property Rights to those Works, including:

  • Faculty Use Rights: Use Rights of faculty to make, distribute, display, perform, and otherwise use reproductions of, and make derivative works based on, their own Works for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes, as examples of their own work, and for purposes of exhibition; and to make photographic or similar representational reproductions of their students' Works, and to distribute, display, perform, and otherwise use those reproductions, for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes and as examples of their students' work.
  • Student Use Rights: Use Rights of students to make, distribute, display, perform, and otherwise use reproductions of, and make derivative works based on, their own Works for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes, as examples of their own work, and for purposes of exhibition.
  • College Use Rights: Use Rights of the College to make photographic or similar representational reproductions of faculty and student Works located at or made available to the College, and to distribute, display, perform, and otherwise use those reproductions, for the purposes of education and scholarship, exhibition, accreditation, development, alumni relations, promotion, and the like; as examples of faculty and student work; and for inclusion in its permanent collection and/or archives.

Computer Software: Computer software is defined as anything executable in a computer such as, for example, computer programs, source code, source code listings, design details, algorithms, processes, flow charts, formulae and related material that would enable the software to be reproduced, recreated or recompiled, computer data bases and documentation. Computer software is covered separately in ArtCenter’s Technology Information Policy.

Ownership of Work

General Premise: Except as otherwise specified in this policy, faculty and students generally retain their rights in anything created while attending or employed by ArtCenter.

Group Works: If students create work as a group, the students jointly own the work. Each joint owner will have Student Use Rights. However, any commercialization must be agreed to by all members of the group, including submitting the work for any competitions or contests. No individual member of a group will arbitrarily or unreasonably holdback his or her approval of a license for commercialization or submission.

Input and Comment: Recognizing that learning is enhanced by the free exchange of ideas, mere advice, comment or input will not be considered as resulting in any ownership rights in another student's or faculty's work. As a condition to participating in the academic environment, students and faculty agree that such advice, general ideas and input may be freely used by anyone for any purpose at any time without accounting to, or any obligation to compensate, any of the others as a result of such use.

Rights of ArtCenter in Student Work: ArtCenter will have, without compensation to the student, College Use Rights in works created by students in the course of their studies at ArtCenter.

Sponsored Works and Other Projects Involving Outside Partners: In order to provide unique educational opportunities, ArtCenter collaborates with outside partners to support a variety of activities, including, but not limited to sponsored projects, workshops, and funded research. Partners participate in the educational process, either directly or indirectly, creating opportunities for valuable exchange of ideas and perspectives. As a condition to participating in these projects, faculty and students grant certain rights to ArtCenter and such outside sponsors. Appropriate contractual documents will be deployed on a case-by-case basis. See the Office of Educational Partnerships for more information.

Faculty Led Research Not Involving Outside Sponsors: Work created in faculty-led research projects not involving outside sponsors will be jointly owned by faculty member and student research assistants. ArtCenter will have, without compensation to the faculty or students, College Use Rights in the works created in faculty-led research projects.

Coursework: Faculty own the syllabi, lectures and teaching materials they create. ArtCenter will have, without additional compensation, College Use Rights for syllabi, whether or not additional compensation has been given to the faculty member for purposes of developing course or teaching materials. Faculty will not have any ownership rights in the student work or learning outcomes specified by the course description.

Lectures: Faculty and Visiting Lecturers own the contents of their lectures. All public lectures may be recorded provided that a signed release is obtained. ArtCenter’s rights to use such lectures shall be governed by the terms of the signed release. Such a release will generally provide that ArtCenter will have, without the payment of compensation, the non- exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, and irrevocable right to (i) use the recordings and transcripts of the recordings, in whole or in part, for teaching and research purposes; and (ii) to use, reproduce, display and exhibit such lecture, in whole or in part, on its website, and other promotional or educational collateral.

College-Commissioned Works: ArtCenter shall own all College-Commissioned Works. Faculty shall not have Faculty Use Rights and students shall not have Student Use Rights in College-Commissioned Works.

Administrative and Other Works: ArtCenter shall own all Administrative and Other Works. Faculty shall not have Faculty Use Rights and students shall not have Student Use Rights in Administrative and Other Works.

Modification by Agreement with Respect to Particular Works: It is anticipated that the relevant parties may on occasion wish to modify the allocation of ownership and usage rights provided by the general rules with respect to specific Works, particularly in cases involving Sponsored Works. The relevant parties may do so if the party whose normal rights under the applicable general rule would be restricted agrees to the desired modification. If the relevant parties are unable to reach agreement, the allocation of ownership and usage rights provided by the relevant general rule will remain in effect.

Brands and Logos

  • Removal of Brands: ArtCenter may remove brands from any photographs or other reproductions of branded works that ArtCenter displays, reproduces and/or exhibits in publications about ArtCenter, on its website or otherwise.

Online Courses

Except as otherwise provided by any other policy or in a written agreement signed by ArtCenter and the participating faculty, the faculty retains ownership of materials prepared for ArtCenter Online Courses. ArtCenter may negotiate ownership when significant use will be or has been made of the Institute's resources. If student course work is placed on the ArtCenter Online Courses site based on its College Use Rights, then copyright in the work remains with the student with a perpetual, non-revocable, worldwide license granted to ArtCenter. Faculty and students shall disclose to ArtCenter whether any of the materials they create are based on the works of others and require licenses to make the material openly available on the Web. ArtCenter will promptly remove any material that is determined to be infringing on the rights of others.

Use of Copyrighted Materials

To teach, members of the ArtCenter faculty often find it necessary to make available to their students copyrighted material other than textbooks. Frequently the best way to do that is to copy such material and distribute it to the students. Additionally, student may need to use copyrighted material to prepare coursework or other projects to complete assigned tasks. The Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U. S. C. § 1 et seq. (effective January 1, 1978), provides for duplication of copyrighted materials of others where the copying is considered a “fair use” of the material.

To facilitate legitimate copying by ArtCenter faculty, staff and students within the purview of the Copyright Act while carrying out educational, research, creative and scholarly pursuits, ArtCenter is publishing this copyright policy statement. This statement presents ArtCenter College of Design's criteria for copying copyrighted materials.

    1. Policy Statement and Regulatory Compliance,
        • It is the policy of ArtCenter College of Design that all members of the ArtCenter community must comply with United States Copyright Law.
        • Copyrighted materials may be copied freely by the owner of the copyright on the materials.
    2. Fair Use Standards
        • Faculty, staff and students are permitted to use and duplicate copyrighted materials of other parties for educational and classroom uses, provided such activities are within the fair use standard, 17 U. S. C. § 107. The fair use standard requires consideration and balancing by ArtCenter faculty, staff and students of the following factors to determine if duplication or use by a third party constitutes a fair use:
          1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
            Non-profit educational purposes, such as duplication for classroom purposes rather than commercial purposes, often support a finding of fair use.
          2. Nature of the copyrighted work.
            Is the work published or unpublished, fact or fiction? Published factual works, such as form books, dictionaries or other factual works, by their nature more readily support a finding of fair use than do unpublished works or non-factual, fictional, creative works.
          3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
            If the portion of the work copied or used in relation to the entire work is quantitatively and qualitatively insignificant that supports a finding of fair use. No specific number of words or percentage copied of the work is set as being permissible. However, see the “safe harbor” guidelines discussed below. Copying of a minor portion of a work may be found to be other than a fair use if the portion constitutes the essence or critical part of the copied or used work.
          4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
            This factor is considered the most important element to be considered under the fair use analysis. Duplication or use of a copyrighted work that is not detrimental to and does not diminish the potential market for the work will support a finding of fair use.
          5. The copyright holder explicitly releases the published materials from strict observance of the law.
            Frequently publishers, particularly association and scholarly publishers, will exempt educational uses of their materials from strict observance of the copyright law. Exemptions must be stated within the published materials. In such cases, it is permissible to copy the materials without permission or recompense, up to and including the limits set by the publishers, even when they exceed fair use requirements. On the other hand, a publisher may not claim rights in published materials, which exceed those established under law. Though such claims may be made, faculty, staff and student are under no legal obligation to follow them.
          6. The faculty, staff or student has obtained the right to use the materials in writing from the copyright holder who has explicitly released them for stated classroom or research purposes.
            Notwithstanding the limitations of the law, publishers generally have established copyright clearance offices and standard practices to allow for educational uses in excess of legal limitations. Frequently, publishers will not ask for payment and all that is required is a written request for permission to use materials for classroom purposes.
            1. a). Duplication of materials for profit. b). Duplication of material from published textbooks. c). Duplication of unpublished materials. d). Duplication of computer software for multiple use. e). Duplication of the same materials for classroom use term after term.
            2. The following duplication activity generally will not per se constitute fair use and should not be engaged in by ArtCenter faculty, staff or students without permission from the copyright owner.
    3. “Safe Harbor” Guidelines
        • Fair use analysis is, in many circumstances, a complex and difficult analysis. As an alternative, private organizations representing educational institutions, authors and publishers have developed an Agreement On Guidelines For Classroom Copying In Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions With Respect To Books And Periodicals; representatives of music publishers and music teachers have developed Guidelines For The Educational Uses Of Music; and representatives of educational institutions, copyright proprietor and creative guilds have developed Guidelines For Off-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming For Educational Purposes. These three guidelines provide a “safe harbor“ with regard to fair use, in that any copying or use within these guidelines should be well within the limits of fair use, although other broader activities may also be within the fair use doctrine. These three established guidelines are available in the Library, at ArtCenter and on ArtCenter’s Web site.
    4. ArtCenter faculty and staff desiring to use copyrighted materials are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable copyright law, including making an initial good faith determination as to whether or not the desired use falls within the fair use exemption. In the event of genuine doubt regarding the application of copyright law, ArtCenter faculty and staff should consult with the Office of the Provost regarding such matters. ArtCenter does not assume legal responsibility for any independent application of copyright principles made by ArtCenter faculty or staff that are not in good faith or that do not otherwise comply with this policy or the guidance provided by or determinations made by the Office of the Provost. Permissions must be obtained in all instances where ArtCenter faculty or staff determines in good faith that the desired use exceeds fair use or other applicable limitations on the rights of copyright owners.
          • If any ArtCenter faculty or staff has reason to believe that the copyright owner will contend that the proposed use exceeds fair use, then, prior to such use or promptly upon learning of the owner's contention, the ArtCenter faculty or staff will notify the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Provost will make a determination regarding the proposed use. Faculty and staff will likewise notify the Office of the Provost if they have any reason to believe that there exists any dispute relating to the use or proposed use of copyrighted material, and the Office of the Provost will make a determination regarding the dispute. The Office of the Provost will promptly consider all disputed matters relating to use of copyrighted materials by ArtCenter faculty or staff and will make any determinations required within a reasonable time.
          • Students are expected to individually, within the context of the Student Code of Conduct and other applicable ArtCenter Rules and Regulations, act responsibly and ethically by applying fair use principles to the completion of their activities and projects. ArtCenter does not assume legal responsibility for violations of applicable copyright law by students who are not employees of ArtCenter. Students who are employees of ArtCenter and who are acting in their capacity as employees, are subject to all provisions of this Policy relating to faculty and staff.

Creating a Course Reader

It is ArtCenter’s policy that all material contained in course readers, must have prior permission from copyright owners.

To create a course reader (more than 50 pages, multiple articles), faculty must submit to the department coordinator collated masters with a bibliography (Reader Worksheet) that contains the following information (if applicable): Author/Editor/Translator of source, ISBN#, Volume, Edition, Publisher and Year, Book/Journal Title, Chapter/Article Name, Author of Article, Starting and Ending pages, and total number of pages. Articles will then be sent for copyright approval, photocopied, and bound. Obtaining such approval may take time, and faculty should submit the proposed course reader sufficiently in advance of the proposed use. Students will be able to purchase the readers in the student store.

Derivative Works

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

Faculty and students acknowledge that work done while attending ArtCenter can be the basis for derivative works now and in the future. To that end faculty and students grant to ArtCenter, future faculty and future students the right to prepare or create new versions of any work created while at ArtCenter for non-commercial purposes only under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 license. All applicable rights in these derivative works will be vested in the faculty and students that create the derivative work, with proper attribution to the original author.

The development of computer software is not covered under the general intellectual property policy, but is separately addressed in the ArtCenter’s Information Technology Policy.

ArtCenter Owned Intellectual Property

The underlying premise and purpose of ArtCenter is not to own the intellectual property of faculty or students but, in some instances, ArtCenter does obtain rights to course materials, and other intellectual property. On a case by case basis ArtCenter may make such intellectual property freely and openly available to others for non-commercial educational purposes, and grant the right to anyone to use the materials, either “as is,” or in a modified form under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 license (“ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials”). ArtCenter shall clearly identify materials it is making available as ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials, and in such an instance, there is no restriction on how a user can modify such materials for the user's purpose. ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials may be edited, translated, combined with someone else's materials, reformatted, or changed in any other way. However, there are three requirements that a third party user must meet to use such materials:

  • Non-commercial Use of ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials: Use of ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials is open to all except for persons or profit-making entities who charge a fee for access to educational materials. ArtCenter Creative Common Licensed Materials may not be sold by any nonprofit entity except as permitted under the Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 license .
  • Attribution: Any and all use or reuse of the material, including use of derivative works (new materials that incorporate or draw on the original materials), must be attributed to ArtCenter and, if a faculty member's or student's name is associated with the material, to that person as well.
  • Share alike (aka “copyleft“): Any publication or distribution of original or derivative works, including production of electronic or printed class materials or placement of materials on a Web site, must offer the works freely and openly to others under the same terms that ArtCenter first made the works available to the user.

If you would like to use ArtCenter College of Design materials please contact the Office of the Provost.

Use of ArtCenter College of Design Name

“ArtCenter College of Design”, and its logos and seal are trademarks of ArtCenter College of Design. Except for purposes of attribution as required for materials made available under our Creative Commons License, no person or entity may use ArtCenter’s names or logos, or any variations thereof, without prior written consent of ArtCenter. ArtCenter prohibits the use of its name in any of its forms and ArtCenter’s seals or logos for promotional purposes, or in any way that deliberately or inadvertently claims, suggests, or in ArtCenter’s sole judgment gives the appearance or impression of a relationship with or endorsement by ArtCenter College of Design.

Citation Policy

If you reuse or repost ArtCenter materials you must give proper attribution to the original ArtCenter faculty or student author(s). Please utilize the following citation:

[Name], [Course Title], [Term]. (ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California), [URL] (Accessed [Date]). License: Creative commons BY-NC-SA


Jane Doe, Advanced Graphic Studio 1, Spring 2010. (ArtCenter College of Design), (Accessed February 24, 2010). License: Creative commons BY-NC-SA


This policy will be administered by the Office of the Provost. The Office of the Provost will establish reasonable procedures to be adopted by the College to ensure compliance with this policy, including a procedure for considering in a timely manner any questions, objections, complaints, or other challenges arising from or relating to this policy. The Office of the Provost will also create and maintain a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” providing additional information about specific applications of this policy and about intellectual property law and rights generally.

This policy is complete and effective as of the publication date set out above, and may be amended from time to time by ArtCenter in consultation with faculty and staff. This policy and all amendments will be published by and made available through the Office of the Provost. Amendments will be effective as of their date of publication.