Academic Freedom, Copyright and the Academic Exception

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Chris Triggs


The academic and university are guardians of the public domain, where knowledge is freely generated and criticized. At the heart is academic freedom, the idea that university teachers and researchers have the right to pursue academic interests, research and publish, and engage in teaching and discussion without threats of institutional reprisals and arbitrary constraints. Intellectual property law, which views knowledge as property, may seem incompatible with this role of the university as the guardian of the public domain. Nevertheless, copyright applies to the research and publications of academics, and many innovations derived from university research are patentable. Of particular interest is the issue of copyright in course materials and lectures developed by university teachers.

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