Q: Can curriculum created by school staff through grants/federal funding be copyrighted?
Indigenous Immersion Schools receiving grant funding and federal funding to operate must create a complete curriculum in target language that is unavailable elsewhere for purchase. These schools would like to copyright their work and are trying to decipher who has legal rights to copyright.
You should consult an attorney and review the terms of the grant.
In many cases the government provides the grant and does not retain rights to the Intellectual Property, and the creators retain the right to register that IP.
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A: Yes, it can, however you need to review the terms of the grant. When the Federal Government produces creative material it usually is copyright free (search Google for "U.S. Government Works" to learn more). Works prepared for the Federal Government by contractors may be owned (and copyrighted) by the contractors. Your relationship with the government will impact the ability to copyright the material.
A: Unless the terms of the grant specify otherwise (which would be very unusual), copyright in the curriculum created by staff would be owned as a work for hire by their employer. The source of the funding would not ordinarily be relevant.
Curriculum created by school staff through grants or federal funding can potentially be copyrighted. However, the copyright ownership may depend on the specific terms of the grant or funding agreement. If the grant or funding agreement specifies that the curriculum is a work for hire, then the copyright ownership may belong to the school or organization that received the grant or funding. If the agreement does not specify this, then the staff members who created the curriculum may own the copyright. It is recommended that the school consult with a lawyer familiar with copyright law to determine the specific copyright ownership and protection options for their curriculum.
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