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Jisc projects are funded on the condition that project outputs are made freely available to the UK HE/FE community .Ownership of IPR is covered in the circular/ITT and letter of grant. You must ensure that project outputs don't third party IPR and obtain written permission for any intellectual property they incorporate.

Project planning: Intellectual property

Jisc projects are funded on the condition that, unlessotherwise agreed, project outputs are owned by Jisc on behalf of the community.Ownership of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is covered in the circular/ITTand Funding Letter. You must ensure that project outputs do not infringe thirdparty IPR and obtain written permission for any intellectual property theyincorporate. 

In order to safeguard the investment that Jisc makes on behalf of the communities it serves it will usually seek to own the rights to any Intellectual Property (IP) generated by Jisc funded activity.  Should this not be possible then it will, as a minimum, ensure that such licences exist for any such IP to be used by Jisc and its communities for the purpose of education and research. 


 Creative Commons Licences
 Overview of the ‘Openness’ of Licences to Provide Access to Materials, Data, Databases and Media 2 (PDF) 

As part of its commitment to the Open agenda, and recognising that its work is funded by and for the education community, Jisc will make such material available on as open a licence as is practical.  It is, however, also noted that this does not preclude Jisc licensing in such a way as to allow for charging for material either to cover the costs of delivery or to reinvest in other activities to support its communities.


Where Jisc is funding the creation of a national service for the community, there will be a need for Jisc to retain ownership of certain rights in order to maintain flexibility of future provision and availability of the service.


The ownership of IPR will be indicated in the funding circular/ITT and in the Funding Letter. 

Jisc will seek ownership of IPR created by a project when     

  •  the main deliverable is a report –Jisc normally indicates that the IPR in the report and any information gathered during the course of the study (and not already in the public domain) will become the property of Jisc.
  • project results in a pilot service intended to become a full service when the project ends – Jisc will indicate that the IPR created by the project will become the property of Jisc, and that the institution(s) must agree to license their own IPR to Jisc as necessary in order for Jisc to run the service after the project ends.


Other possible circumstances are outlined here:

Jisc’s position on ownership of IPR may vary depending on the programme and the specific project. However, in all cases, the principle is to make the outputs free at the point of use to the education and research communities. In some cases, it may be appropriate for institutions to exploit their IPR after the project ends. This would be planned in consultation with Jisc and must be without detriment to the Jisc community.

Ownership of IPR within the project

You should think through how IPR will be handled within the project. If the project involves more than one institution, provisions for IPR should be covered in the Consortium Agreement. They may also want to discuss IPR with their institutional department that handles collaboration, technology transfer, or innovations. 

  •  In the project plan, indicate who will own the IPR created by the project (if not owned by Jisc).
  •  Ensure that you outline licensing provisions to enable project partners to freely use each other’s IPR which brought to the project (Background IPR)as well as generated by the project itself (Foreground IPR).
  • List any IPR owned by third parties (Third Party IPR) that will be incorporated into project outputs, when/how you will obtain permission to use them, who will take responsibility for securing the rights and any implications for project outputs after the project ends.

Specific Issues to consider

Consult Jisc Legal for help and advice

  • What Background IPR can be used by the others during the project, and how can it be used?
  • Who will own the Foreground IPR (if not owned by Jisc)? Will it be owned by the partners jointly or will the partner that created a deliverable own and be responsible for the IPR? How will each partner be able to use the Foreground IPR?Consult Jisc Legal for help and advice.
  •  Is IPR created by staff (or students) owned by them or the institution, and will any permissions and further releases by needed?
  •  How will any exploitation of IPR developed by the project be handled when it ends?
  •  If a commercial partner is involved, what IPR will they own and what IPR can they exploit after the project ends?
  •  Under what specific licensing terms will be the project outputs be used by end users and how will your project ensure that these licensing terms are compliant with Jisc’s Terms and Conditions of Funding?
  •  How will you ensure that any permissions to use the IPR in your project outputs (Background IPR, Foreground IPR and Third Party IPR) is compatible with the end use licensing terms decided upon?

How IPR is handled will depend on the type of project, its deliverables, its end use licence requirements and in some cases by the policies of the institution(s). Think about the deliverables, what makes sense in terms of how they will be used, and what will happen to them after the project ends. 

 Here are two scenarios:

  •  Learning materials:  If agreed with Jisc that the project provider(s) owns the learning materials created. Each partner (if applicable) would clear any third-party permissions related to the learning materials created, secure any necessary releases from staff, and their institution would sign the licence agreement to allow the materials to be made available to JORUM. 
  •  Software or technical deliverables: If not owned by Jisc, each deliverable could be owned by the partner that created it or they could be owned by the partners jointly.  However, it probably makes sense for one partner to administer the IPR for each deliverable and be responsible for licensing it back to Jisc. Only a legal entity can sign a licence agreement, so unless the partners form a legal entity to administer IPR, it’s probably simpler for one of the institutions to act for them.

These are simply scenarios for you to consider and they don’t constitute legal advice. Institutions should think through the IPR implications for their particular project and the deliverables they will create .

Third-party rights

Institutions and their partners must ensure that deliverables don't infringe copyright or other third party IPR. The Jisc Legal website explains IPR, has publications and other resources, and provides an email enquiry service.

If you wish to include materials where copyright or other IPR are owned by a third party, you need specific permission from the owner. For content creation projects, third-party rights should be cleared before digitisation begins or cleared in stages as a managed part of the creation process. Rights need to be cleared for networked delivery of these resources for learning,teaching and research.

It is a matter for institutions or other partners to ensure that their rights are adequately protected. Consult your Programme Manager if you have any questions about howto proceed.  



Further resources

Jisc Legal delivers practical sector-specific legal information that allows FE and HE institutions to make informed decisions when it comes to legal risks and opportunities.  The resources include briefing documents, webcasts, online publications, FAQs, an email enquiry service and links to other useful sites on IPR.  For more detail the best starting point is the wealth of resources on the Jisc Legal website.   Other sources include:

  • The Jisc Funded - Web2Rights Project - This resource contains rights clearance templates, diagnostic tools and flow charts designed to help Jisc Projects identify the rights that require clearing and the tools to sort out any rights issues.
  • The - Jisc Funded OER IPR Support Project - assists Jisc funded Open Educational Resource Projects identify and manage third party rights issues and provides online resources, briefing papers, podcasts, case studies, diagnostic tools and web-based wizards.
  • The - Strategic Content Alliance IPR and Licensing Toolkit - provides a number of resources, briefing papers, podcasts, case studies, an updated blog and interactive learning modules to help staff identify and manage IPR and licensing issues.
  • Legal planning for Jisc projects (PDF) and the Legal planning process (PDF), Andrew Charlesworth, Centre for IT & Law, University of Bristol, 2006.
  • Legal Use of Mobile Technologies: A Checklist  (14 March 2012) A checklist for Colleges and Universities of legal issues to take into account from the start as part of the project planning process.
  • For those projects engaging with employers, delivering lifelong learning and interacting with the wider community the Jisc Legal BCE resources will be valuable.