Public Lectures and Less Formal or Pedagogical Presentations

"Public" lectures or talks are to be distinguished from lectures that are either part of or closely associated with courses, workshops, or other organized instructional activities. Typically, "public" lectures will be those where the speaker presents in her professional role as a scholar or expert, rather than as a teacher. Public lectures also should be distinguished from settings in which it is customary to present work-in-progress: the kind of thing that might be marked, "Please do not quote." Thus, just because a lecture is advertised within a department does not make it public.
  • Lectures and Presentations by Guests: Units of the University that sponsor public lectures by invited outside speakers often record the lectures. Unless written permission has been obtained from the speakers, however, the sponsoring unit, and the University, will not have the right to distribute or disseminate these recordings. Without this right, these recordings have limited usefulness.Therefore, permission to record and to make use of the recording should be obtained using a permission form prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel.

  • Lectures and Presentations by University Faculty Members and Academic Staff: The circulation or publication of the text of "public" lectures by University faculty or academic staff has long been considered normal and unproblematic; at the same time any reservation or refusal expressed by the presenter has always been respected. Consistent with this practice, public lectures by University faculty and staff may be recorded and used by the University, subject to University policy. The University may use for non-commercial purposes recordings of public lectures or presentations delivered by its employees within the scope of employment, even if copyright ownership is ceded to the author(s). Concomitantly, ONLY the University, acting through the appropriate University officials, has the right to make and use recordings of the faculty's public lectures on campus unless special arrangements are made with the University. In keeping with past practice, any reservation or refusal expressed by the faculty member should be respected.


Classroom Activity and Non-"Public" Lectures

Recording classroom activities or informal talks may be useful for some purposes. Units should be thoughtful about setting their own policies within the broad framework of University guidelines and expectations, to ensure that the act of recording does not impede expression or class participation and that the recording is not misused.
Members of the faculty may record, or have recorded, their own classes for their personal use or for the purpose of exchange with colleagues, e.g., for the purpose of developing or demonstrating pedagogical skills.
Instructors may permit a student to record a class session for the convenience of the student, for the benefit of another student who is unavoidably absent, or as part of an accommodation for a student with a disability. Students must understand that under University policy, permission given by a member of the faculty to record a class is limited to permission to record for personal use only. It is, for example, never permissible to copy, file-share, sell, distribute, or Web-serve such recordings. Members of the faculty who believe that their classes are being inappropriately recorded, or that recordings are being misused, should contact their Dean of Students.
The University may from time to time wish to record, preserve, or disseminate the exemplary work of distinguished colleagues in the classroom or lecture room. When the University undertakes to make recordings of this sort, it will secure appropriate permissions.
University policies do not permit members of the faculty to "publish" recordings of their classroom or lecture room efforts, or to grant to others the right to distribute recordings, in any medium, of teaching or lecturing undertaken in fulfillment of teaching assignments, without prior approval by the Provost. The University has a sufficient interest in the intellectual property (Statute 18 and New Technology policy) and in the University's reputation to justify its setting this limitation on what a member of the faculty may do. Moreover, there is a potential conflict of commitment: a teacher may feel some pressure to modify what or how he teaches to make it more marketable.

Recordings by Student Groups (RSO or Other Recognized Groups)

Recordings by student groups of University events, academic or non-academic, may be made only with the consent of a cognizant official of the University. RSO's should seek consent to record from the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities and other student groups (whether recognized or not) should seek permission from their dean of students. After permission has been given, the students are then responsible for securing appropriate permissions from performers, speakers, and participants. Such recordings and any derivatives made from them are the property of the University. Students may not copy, make derivatives from, distribute, or disseminate such recordings in any medium without the permission of the University. By longstanding policy, the University asserts no copyright in creative work such as film or video that is authored by students or student groups using resources normally available to them.

Copyright of Recordings

Recordings made at the University should be marked, "Copyright [date], The University of Chicago." While the copyright of the recording is in the name of the University, the author of the underlying recorded work retains all applicable rights to that work. As is the case with University publications, Web sites, and other similar properties, recordings should carry the copyright of the University and not the individual unit.