Don’t Let KU Steal Your IP!

Have you ever created your own course materials? According to Article 8, Section 1, the University is required to provide any and all materials needed fulfill our job duties and those materials must be comparable to other academic workers, including faculty. (No, you probably cannot file a grievance because you don’t have a window in your office, sorry not sorry.)

When instructional materials provided by the University have been unavailable or inadequate, some GTAs have been pressured or even forced to create and use their own materials, which is both a violation of our contract and a type of wage theft. This is a growing and troubling trend which has become especially relevant as GTAs, who are deeply invested in our work, have created online instructional materials to meet the immediate needs of our students. However, our generosity in allowing a one-time use during a time of crisis does not obligate any of to allow future use of our intellectual property. Even if assigned the same course next semester, you cannot be required to use your intellectual property without compensation.

To be clear, we are not referencing course materials created by GTAs who have also separately been awarded grants by the CTE to create said course materials. In addition, GTAs who prefer to use their own course materials, especially instructors of record nearing the completion of their degree program, are free to do so. That’s okay! But no GTA should be forced to work hours of unpaid overtime to create curriculum which is then stolen by their own University.

Whether created by choice or by force, GTAs retain full ownership of their intellectual property as both a traditional work practice and a matter of law.