Managing IPR in Digital Learning Materials: A Development Pack for Institutional Repositories

Authors: John Casey, Jackie Proven & David Dripps


The largest UK Higher Education funding council HEFCE issued guidance to the senior management of higher education institutions about IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) in e-learning. A key points was:

“Every HEI needs to establish a clear, preferably plain English, IPR policy and disseminate it widely across the organisation, including IT guidelines and codes of practice for staff and students.”

Intellectual Property Rights in E-learning Programmes: good practice for senior managers , HEFCE, 2006

The objective of this institutional development pack is to empower people to undertake this task and help them put in place the necessary supporting measures in their institutions. To do this we have been working across a very broad front that takes in educational factors, culture and organisational issues, technology, the law, the commercial environment and policy development.


Background to the production of this pack

This institutional development pack is part of the outcomes of the work of the TrustDR project (Trust in Digital Repositories) funded by the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) the UK government body responsible for supporting education and research by promoting innovation in new technologies and by the central support of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services.

The TrustDR project was a partnership between the University of Ulster and UHI Millennium Institute and operated between June 2005 and August 2007 as part of the JISC Digital Repositories Programme.


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Managing Intellectual Property Rights in Digital Learning Materials: A Development Pack for Institutional Repositories

The main part of the pack: Word .doc format- 1.5Mb. Word .docx format - 2.4Mb. PDF format - 2.2Mb.

This institutional development pack for managing IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) in e-learning is intended to support those who wish to update and clarify their institutional policies and infrastructures to help get the best out of using technology to support teaching and learning. Confusion, lack of awareness, poor practice, contradictory policy and risk aversion currently dominate thinking about this subject at all levels – particularly amongst senior management. This is presenting a major obstacle to the effective uptake of e-learning in our tertiary education system. In this pack we explicitly link the task of overhauling the IPR regimes in our institutions to the organisational and professional ‘process change' that is required to make effective use of e-learning – especially in relation to the introduction and extension of flexible learning delivery.

The introduction to the development pack contains user notes for how to use the pack and the resources in the Appendix below.

Appendix to the Development Pack

The resources below are meant to be used in conjunction with the development pack.



Discussion One: The Main Legal, Educational and Technical Issues Word PDF


Discussion Two: The Pros and Cons for using Creative Commons (CC) Licences in Digital Teaching and Learning Materials Word PDF


Reading 1: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Networked e-Learning: A Beginners Guide for Content Developers
Casey, J. (2004). Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in networked e-learning: a beginners guide for content developers. JISC Legal Information. A short clear introduction. Available online as a PDF at at this link

Reading 1A: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Networked e-Learning: An extended version, best read after the short version. This includes useful project planning tools including rights tracker forms and methods for risk analysis and asection on' how to read' licenses available at this link


Reading 2: Recent Jisc Legal Guides


Reading 2A: Recent Changes to Copyright Law (2014) GOV.UK web site


Reading 3: The TrustDR Framework: a useful conceptual model of IPR and DRM Word


Reading 4: The E-Learning Change Continuum - Typical Scenarios and Business Models Word


Reading 5: A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education. (Published by the QAA)
Casey, J. and Wilson. P. (2006) A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education. Quality Assurance Agency for Scotland. Published on the web at: Also available from this page in different formats at this link


Reading 6: Theory and Practice of the Virtual University
Pollock, N. and Cornford, J. (2000) Theory and practice of the virtual University. Ariadne Issue 24. Available online at


Reading 7: Using an Organisational Model Word


Reading 8: Case Study Exercise using the Organisational Model Word


Reading 9: Structured Guidelines for setting up and evaluating Learning Object Repositories
Margaryan, A., Milligan, C. and Douglas, P. (2007) Structured guidelines for setting up and evaluating Learning Object Repositories. CDLOR project deliverable. Draft available online at


Reading 10: Good practice Guidance for Senior Managers: Intellectual property rights in e-learning programmes
HEFCE (2006) Good practice Guidance for senior managers: Intellectual property rights in e-learning programmes. HEFCE Available here for download from this link


Reading 11: Policy Options and Discussions Word


Reading 12: Metadata's Many Meanings and Uses
Taylor, C. (2006), Metadata's Many Meanings and Uses, Ideography,


Reading 13: The Role of Principles in Driving Cultural Shift Word


Reading14: Understanding Licences: An Analysis and Evaluation of Creative Commons Word


Reading 15: Getting to grips with Risk Management Word


Reading 16: Managing Risk and Opportunity in Creative Commons Enterprises
Rens, A. (2006) Managing Risk and Opportunity in Creative Commons Enterprises, First Monday, volume 11, number 6 (June 2006). Available at:


Reading 17: Risk Management - a Key Role for Information Professionals
Robinson, L. (2006), Risk Management - a Key Role for Information Professionals, CILIP, September 2006, London - NB - now now longer available on tis site


Reading 18: The Interactive Media Industry, Intellectual Property Rights, the Internet and Copyright: Some Lessons from the TrustDR Project Word


Reading 19: Risk Management Report and Tool Kit
Webb, J. (2006) Risk Management Report and Tool Kit Freepint, Ashford, 2006. Available at: NB now behind a paywall under Jinfo?


Reading 20: Intellectual Property Issues in Institutional and Cross-Institutional Multimedia Repositories.
Cordiner, M. (2006) no longer available


TrustDR Bibliography: organised and annotated references from the TrustDR project Word


Tool 1: Analysing your situation

Tool 2: Awareness and readiness

  • a. IPR Management Regimes Mapped onto the E-Learning Change Continuum Word
  • b. Analysis and Audit Tool for Rights Management in Learning Object Repositories Word
  • c. Functional and Dysfunctional DRM Frameworks for Teaching and Learning Materials Word
  • d. Activity and Competency Grids to Support Implementation of a DRM framework Word

Tool 3: UHI Workflow and Metadata Application Profile Word


Tools 4: Placing Our Stuff So We Can Find It Later: A Meta-Learning Essential
This article by Jamie Dinkelacker originally appeared in the IEEE Learning Technology Newsletter and is essential reading for anyone involved in information management in e-learning. Reproduced by permission. Word


Tool 5: IPR Risk Management Framework and Tools Word


Tool 6: The TrustDR Repository Checklist Word

Repositories and Practical Issues – Recommended Readings


The following readings are mostly selected from the TrustDR project workpackage reports – they are all aimed at beginners and should be very useful.They can be found in the ‘work in progress' section of the TrustDR website. For your convenience we have provided direct links to the word versions.

WP1-4 Targets for Policy Creation

  • After The Deluge: Navigating IPR policy in teaching and learning materials [ Word ]

WP1-6 Assessing different licence regimes

  • Assessing the Creative Commons Licences [ Word ]

WP2-1 Technical Factors: current Practice, sources of guidance and developments

  • Doing the right thing: sources of guidance for good practice with metadata in repositories [ Word ]
  • The three As: Authorisation, Authentication and Access – information and guidance [ Word ]
  • The technical landscape of digital repositories [ Word]

WP2-3 Reviewing ODRL

  • Expressing and encoding digital rights information: reviewing ODRL in practice [ Word ]
  • Forever is a long time in e-learning: the need for permanent identifiers in digital object management [ Word ]

Supporting Studies & Background Reports

  • Talking to the techies #3: an introduction to metadata standards [ Word ]

External Reading on Using Licences

The   final reading for this section deals with fine tuning your knowledge of licences.

Licensing Digital Resources: how to avoid the legal pitfalls

Giavarra, E. (2000) Licensing Digital Resources: how to avoid the legal pitfalls, Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, Volume 13, Number 2 / July 01, 2000, Pages: 111 – 119. Available at

Collected TrustDR Workpackages and Background Studies


Clicking on the link will take you to the page where all these documents are available. Link



Prospects for Using Learning Objects and Learning Design as Staff Development Tools in Higher Education. Presented at CELDA 2005

Download Completed Report

Word | PDF | HTML

Practical Guide to Providing Flexible Learning in Further and Higher Education published by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the UK.

Download Completed Report

Word | PDF | HTML

Modeling Organisational Frameworks for Integrated E-learning: the experience of the TrustDR project. Presented at the IEEE ICALT 2006

Download Completed Report

Word | PDF | HTML

Getting Practical With IPR in E-Learning. Presented at the University of Middlesex conference on IPR in e-learning 2006

Download Completed Report

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The Interactive Media Industry, Intellectual Property Rights, the Internet and Copyright: Some Lessons from the TrustDR Project. For the World Bank AIM-WB Development Resource Centre Forum, Manilla, 2nd May 2006.

Download Completed Report

Word | PDF | HTML

Geronimo's Cadillac: Lessons for Learning Object Repositories. Paper accepted for ECDL 2006 workshop

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Copyright Statement and Conditions of Use

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The copyright in this work is owned by:

The University of Ulster, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland.

UHI Millennium Institute, Executive Office, Ness Walk, Inverness, Scotland, IV3 5SQ.

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NB parts of this pack and referenced works may require different conditions of use, for instance the HEFCE report is not for commercial use. These are indicated where possible; however it is the responsibility of the reader to comply with such requirements.

Limitations of Indemnity

The information contained in this report is intended to be used as general background information and is not to be relied on as definitive or comprehensive guidance in any particular circumstances. Educational institutions are urged to seek their own legal and professional advice on any employment law or intellectual property law issues relevant to their own circumstances before acting on any guidance contained in this report. To the extent permitted by law, neither the authors, their employers, JISC nor any contributors to this report shall be liable to any person for any claims, costs, proceedings, losses, expenses, fees or damages whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from any error or omission (whether negligent or otherwise) contained in this report.