C03.1 Agreement for Commissioning of Educational Materials

I. Rationale

A commission or assignment of educational materials occurs when RIT intends to own the rights to those materials. A commission or assignment of educational materials can only occur through a written agreement consistent with the provisions of this policy. Otherwise, the creator(s) of educational materials (hereafter “Creator”) owns the rights to those educational materials. Educational materials include but are not limited to course materials.  If a unit representing RIT is to commission educational materials, or seek an assignment of rights to educational materials, the agreement described in this policy shall be approved by both the Creator responsible for producing the materials and the head of the unit from which the request for educational materials was made (such as RIT Production Services, RIT Online, Innovative Learning Institute, or an academic unit such as a department; hereafter “RIT Unit”).

With approval of this agreement by both the Creator and the head of an RIT Unit, the following principles shall apply to the commissioning and/or assignment of rights to the educational materials. First, so long as the Creator remains employed by RIT, the Creator will have the right of first refusal to teach or deliver the Materials. Second, the Creator shall retain rights to the Materials for the production of other scholarly works. Third, the Creator shall have full control of the substantive and intellectual content of the Materials. Fourth, the Creator shall receive full credit as the named author or principal developer of all copies of the Materials. Fifth, the Creator is empowered to approve or refuse any intended transfer of copyright privileges to any third party. Sixth, educational materials created by RIT employees will not be treated as a “work made for hire” under the U.S. Copyright Act. Seventh, the agreement shall specify if the rights to the Material revert to the Creator at an agreed-upon time.

This Agreement is to be used by units within the university as they reach agreement with the Creator to prepare commissioned educational materials. The Agreement follows the terms of the Intellectual Property Policy (C3.0). While this Agreement (C3.1) is intended to be used as a guide, it can be adapted to individual circumstances so long as both the RIT Unit and the Creator approve of the expressed agreement. If a unit is employing an outside consultant to develop educational materials, which is typically regarded as work-for-hire, consider using the Independent Contractor Contract

II. Introduction

  1. This Agreement is entered on _____________, 200_, by Rochester Institute of Technology (“RIT”), on behalf of  ____________________________ ("RIT Unit"), ________________________ ("College") and _________________________________ (“Department”) and _____________________________, an expert in the field (“Creator”) who resides at _____________________________.

  2. RIT desires the Creator to provide his/her/their  highest quality services for creation, production and use of educational materials (“Materials”) described as ________________________________________________________________.

  3. RIT desires the flexibility to use the Materials in a variety of different contexts, whether through distance learning or in face-to-face classrooms or otherwise in furtherance of its educational mission. As long as Creator remains employed by RIT, the Creator shall have the right of first refusal to teach or deliver the Materials subject to the Creator’s specific exceptions, listed below:



  4. The Creator agrees to produce Materials and make them available to the RIT Unit independent of the format, subject to the Creator's specific exceptions, listed below:



  5. The Creator agrees to allow RIT to make such uses of the Materials as may be allowed under this Agreement, and the Creator shall retain rights to make other specified uses of the Materials for the production of other scholarly works.

The parties have discussed the terms of this Agreement and agree as follows:

  1. Production of Materials. The Creator shall produce Materials appropriate for teaching as described in Appendix A: Materials.

  2. RIT Support. RIT shall provide financial, equipment, and staff support to assist the Creator in preparation of Materials as described in Appendix B: RIT Support.

  3. Deadline. The Creator shall deliver the Materials to the RIT Unit head in a completed state and suitable for use in teaching by <date>.

  4. Creator’s Right of Use. Throughout the term of this Agreement the Creator reserves the exclusive right to use the substantive content of the Materials without further consent or approval from RIT in any scholarly or creative works that do not compete with RIT’s actual or planned use of the Materials, subject to any RIT policies and procedures related to such Materials and such uses as may be in effect from time-to-time. In particular, the Creator will have the right to use the Materials in connection with journal articles, conference presentations, and other scholarly works, but will not have the right to use, sell, license, reproduce, or distribute the Materials for instructional activities outside of RIT.

  5. RIT Rights of Use. RIT shall have the right to use the Materials as it deems appropriate, consistent with both Paragraphs C and 4 above. RIT's rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and transmit the Materials, to prepare derivative works based on the Materials in furtherance of RIT’s educational mission, or sell or authorize others to sell or make other distributions of the Materials for instructional purposes.

  6. Time of use. 

    1. Time Limit on RIT Use. RIT’s right to use the Materials pursuant to this Agreement shall either terminate on <date> or exist in perpetuity. The right of RIT to use the Materials shall continue until that date regardless of whether the Creator has remained an employee of RIT. The parties understand that this termination date is based on the parties’ best efforts to project the likely viability of the Materials for future instruction. The parties may agree in writing at a future date to change the termination date based on the continuing viability of the Materials or the availability of revisions and updates.

    2. Reversion of Title. As of the date of termination of RIT’s right of use as set forth above, RIT shall assign and transfer to the Creator all right, title, and interest held by RIT, including copyright to the Materials. RIT shall prepare at its expense all the necessary documents for assignment or transfer.

  7. Materials Copies. RIT may retain copies of the Materials for archival purposes and make them available to students for their study, research, and education or to other RIT faculty or staff to be used for other educational materials development.

  8. Quality, Clarity, Currency. The Creator shall have full control of the substantive and intellectual content of the Materials, both at the time of their creation and at any time during their use by RIT. As with the preparation of other scholarly or creative works, the Creator shall be expected to deliver accurate and current information.

  9. Supplemental Updates.

    1. Authorization. The Creator is authorized to produce revised or supplemental materials in order to reflect developments or insights that come to the Creator’s attention following completion of the Materials and before the expiration of the RIT’s right of use.

    2. Procedures. In the event the Creator or the head of the RIT Unit that commissioned the Materials desires to produce a supplemental update to the Materials, they shall together determine a plan and the cost for such update within sixty (60) days of initial written notification by either party.

  10. Named Credit. The Creator shall receive full credit as the named author or principal developer of all copies of the Materials prepared by or authorized by RIT. The Creator has the right (requested in writing) to remove his/her/their name from any copies of the Materials made or authorized by RIT.

  11. No Indemnification by the Creator. The Creator shall not knowingly include in the content of the Materials any content which constitutes libel, invasions of privacy, infringement of copyright or other literary or proprietary rights, or otherwise violates the legal rights of any persons who are not a party to this Agreement. Any responsibility or liability for such violations shall be treated in a manner consistent with the customary treatment of similar violations as they may occur in the context of employment at RIT. Otherwise, the Creator makes no indemnification and no warranty to RIT with respect to the appropriateness of including any content in the Materials. Should either the Creator, the head of the RIT Unit or the RIT administration reasonably conclude that any of the content in the Materials may violate such rights of their parties, the procedure and the right to make revisions shall be consistent with procedures set forth in Paragraph 9b) above. Pending such revision, RIT shall have the right to remove the portions of the Materials that create the potential violations before making any further use of the Materials pursuant to this Agreement.

  12. Credit for Teaching Workload, Promotion, and Tenure. This Agreement does not address any compensation or set any standards or make any adjustments with respect to the Creator’s teaching workload, course enrollments, teaching evaluations, and teaching credit for purposes of review, promotion, or tenure at RIT. These issues must be examined outside the context of the Agreement and necessarily will require consideration by other members of the RIT community.

  13. Allocation of Revenue to the Creator. Should RIT or the Creator receive any revenues from the broadcast, sale, distribution, or use of the Materials, the parties shall allocate the revenue between RIT and the Creator according to the schedule set forth in C03.0 - RIT Intellectual Property Policy. Allocable revenue shall exclude tuition and fees paid by students to take a course (either credit or non-credit) based on the Materials. Creator acknowledges that the formula in the Intellectual Property Policy allows RIT to recoup its expenses directly associated with creation and production of the Materials before allocating revenues to the Creator.

  14. Copyright Ownership. RIT shall retain copyright ownership of the Materials, subject to the rights granted to the Creator pursuant to this Agreement and Creator hereby assigns all right, title, and interest in the Materials to RIT. At no time shall RIT assign or transfer any or all of the copyright ownership privileges associated with the Materials to any person, other than the Creator, without the Creator’s consent. The parties agree that the Materials will not be treated as a “work-for-hire” under the U.S. Copyright Act.

  15. Creator Unavailability. In the event the Creator becomes unavailable (due to death, disability, relocation without leaving a forwarding address, or otherwise fails to respond after repeated attempts at communication by RIT) for decision-making regarding the Materials, RIT shall have the right to use the Materials until the expiration date as defined in Paragraph 6 or two years after Creator’s unavailability, whichever comes later.

  16. Agreement Copies. Original copies of this Agreement shall be given to the Creator, RIT Unit and/or the relevant Department. The RIT Unit shall keep the Agreement for at least three years after termination.

This Agreement is approved by parties who signed below:








Department Head





4. RIT Unit






RIT Unit Head



Responsible Party: Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO)

Effective Date:
Approved January 2002

Policy History:
Edited October 2010
Edited August 2017 to correct department names
Revised March 31, 2021