Default copyright for all books within an instance?


I’m curious about setting a default copyright notice for all the books in a pressbooks network.

After some digging, I still wasn’t able to find anything about ways to set the default copyright notice for all the books on a pressbooks network; instead, I only found that the default author is typically whoever creates a pressbook even if they aren’t the original copyright holder or content author. This would be particularly useful in our use-case over at UW - Madison because the UW - Madison Board of Regents has a claim to any material created by UW - Madison employees or on software licenced by UW - Madison (including authoring tools like Pressbooks).

Any assistance or insight related to this issue would be very appreciated!

Hi Andrew–setting default copyright notices for a network by the network admin is not something that Pressbooks currently supports, but it sounds like a good feature request. We’ll likely be working on some improved tools for network managers in 2019, and this would be a good candidate for our list of things to look at.

Book admins do, of course, have the ability to specify the copyright holder, year, and license for books and individual chapters, and to write a customized copyright notice, if so desired. See for more details about this ability.

Re: the particular case, please note that I’m not offering a legal opinion or advice, but my understanding of UW policy regarding copyright is different from what you described. See

Ownership of Employee-Created Instructional Materials

Under the UW System Policy on Ownership of Copyrightable Instructional Materials (SYS 191), the employee usually owns all rights in his or her creations. For instance, a professor who creates a scholarly article in the course of research at a UW System institution would ordinarily own the copyright in it. The institution may have an interest, however, if it contributed substantial institutional resources in the creation of the work. “Substantial” resources could include providing the creator with paid release time from his or her job, or allowing the employee exceptional access to specialized computer resources to create the work. In practice, when an author uses institutional resources to create a protected work, it is best to agree with the institution beforehand about ownership and control of the work. SYS 191 includes a sample agreement to allocate rights and interests in copyrighted works between the institution and the employee author.

In addition, if a work is produced with extramural support, such as federal funding or corporate sponsorship, the sponsor may have rights in the work. These rights need to be factored into any agreement allocating rights between the copyright owner and the institution. – Source: Copyright | General Counsel


Copyrightable instructional materials may be produced or developed under the following conditions:

  1. No UW System or institutional support or involvement;
  2. Minimal[2] UW System or institutional support or involvement;
  3. Substantial[3] UW System or institutional support or involvement.
  4. As an assigned duty or pursuant to a work-for-hire agreement;
  5. With support from an extramural sponsor.

C. Ownership Interests

  1. It is the policy of the UW System that copyrightable instructional materials developed under the conditions identified in sections II.B.1. and 2. of this policy paper belong solely to the author.[4]
  2. Copyrightable instructional materials developed under the conditions identified in section II.B.3. of this policy paper are required to be the subject of a written agreement between the author and the chief administrative officer of the institution involved, or his or her designee, that equitably determines copyright and ownership rights.[5]
  3. When the production of copyrightable instructional materials is the primary purpose of an employment or independent contractor relationship with a UW institution, as under section II.B.4. of this policy paper, the UW institution shall own all rights, including copyrights, in the materials produced, and a written work-for-hire agreement[6] shall be executed. Under the work-for-hire agreement, fair payment shall be made to the author of the copyrightable instructional materials and the UW institution shall receive all rights, including copyrights, to the materials, together with any royalties and fees.
  4. When copyrightable instructional materials are produced as an assigned duty of employment, the UW institution shall own all rights, including copyrights, in the materials produced, together with any royalties and fees, unless a contrary agreement has been reached prior to the beginning of the project between the author and the chancellor or his or her designee.
  5. When copyrightable instructional materials are produced with extramural support, as under II.B.5. of this policy paper, the agreement with the extramural sponsor shall be considered in determining the copyright and ownership rights of the parties. – Source: Copyrightable Instructions Materials Ownership, Use, and Control | UW Policies

You may also want to note that “Pressbooks is free software, released under the GPL v3.0 or later license.” [source].

I find that by default the user is copyright owner of the book, it is much useful feature when the user is an author.

In the case of someone else is publishing book on behalf of the author, we should have the ability to create original author name and assign them as copyright owner of the book.

You’re correct in noting that the network default is to list a book as all rights reserved to the book’s creator (since that’s the default copyright state of anything that an ‘author’ puts into fixed form). You can certainly indicate another person than the book creator as an originalor of/contributor to the work. See the contributor section of for more details on how to do this.

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Thank you @SteelWagstaff for pointing to that resources. That is much useful.

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