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I have worked for some university. I got a grant from the government for a project. The department and the government specifically wrote a contract that I have an intellectual property (including the copyright.) Then the department took down the server and took the code while I was at a conference without any prior notice. (A member of faculty abruptly cancelled the conference and was on the notice.) Is it a copyright violation?

  • Did they do it on purpose? (Did they wait for you not to be there). – ctrl-alt-delor Sep 12 '17 at 11:50
  • Yes. What are the relevant cases on this issue? Where one can find these cases? – user12586 Sep 12 '17 at 22:28
  • Edit you question to reflect the fact that they waited for you to be away. (could be malicious damages) – ctrl-alt-delor Sep 13 '17 at 7:47
  • Title is vague and doesn't reflect the question well enough, methinks. As to your dilemma: are the university staff not responding or refusing your requests to return that code to you? – can-ned_food Sep 14 '17 at 1:36
  • They say that they would not respond further. – user12586 Sep 14 '17 at 4:53
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Unless they have copied the code without your permission: no.

Unless the contract says so, neither the university nor the government is responsible for the storage and backing-up of your code. If the only place you put it was on their server then this would be what's legally known as "your problem". If you ask nicely they may let you access their server (wherever it is) to get the code.

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    Maybe worth noting that possession of the only existing copy of something is different from owning the copyright. If they were to publish an unauthorized copy, you could (in theory) register your copyright (using that published copy or derivative of your original work) and sue them for damages. – Upnorth Sep 12 '17 at 4:20
  • What are the relevant cases on this issue? – user12586 Sep 12 '17 at 22:28

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