Copyright Policies at UNM

The University does not have a single copyright policy. Instead, copyright issues appear throughout UNM’s policies.  This page contains brief descriptions of the copyright policies in effect at UNM.

Ownership of Copyrights Created by Faculty, Staff, and Students

Ownership of copyrights created by faculty, staff, and students is covered by Regents Policy 5.8 and Faculty Handbook Policy E70.  Most copyrightable works fall under “Scholarly/Artistic Works,” which are defined in section 2.2.1 of the policy.  Generally speaking, such works are owned by their authors, subject to three exceptions:  (1) certain contracted works involving substantial University investment or certain works for hire; (2) works that capitalize on an affiliation with the University; and (3) certain works created under a sponsored agreement.

A notable exception is software and certain related technical works.  Although these can be protected by copyright law, Policy E70 classifies them as “Technological Works.”  Generally speaking, technological works are owned by the University.  

The Pathfinder contains a pointer to Policy E70 and quotes its first two paragraphs.  Students should refer to Policy E70 directly for copyright questions.


Plagiarism—which can include copyright infringement—is prohibited by numerous policies.  The Regents include it under RPM 4.8 as part of academic dishonesty, for which students can be dismissed.  The Faculty Handbook discusses it in Policy D100. The same information is contained in the UNM Pathfinder.

Acceptable Computer Use

Copyright also appears in UAP 2500, the Acceptable Computer Use policy. Computer use is inextricably tied to copyright.  Software itself is copyrightable, meaning that unlicensed installation and use of programs can constitute copyright infringement.  Most of the internet consists of copyrightable text, images, and videos.  UAP 2500 states the legal requirement that persons using University computing services must comply with copyright laws (the law already requires this). This includes restrictions on installing unlicensed software or using file sharing services to share copyrighted materials.  The policy also allows the University to deny access to users who violate the policy.

The student Pathfinder also includes a section on copyrights and file sharing. 

Gifts to the University

The University occasionally receives gifts of items covered by copyright law.  This situation is covered in UAP 1030 § 4.9, which requires donors to identify any copyrights that may be related to a donation, but are not conveyed to the University as part of the donation.