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School Board Considers Copyright Ownership of Student and Teacher Works 351

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-all-mine dept.
schwit1 writes "A proposal by the Prince George's County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual. It's not unusual for a company to hold the rights to an employee's work, copyright policy experts said. But the Prince George's policy goes a step further by saying that work created for the school by employees during their own time and using their own materials is the school system's property."
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School Board Considers Copyright Ownership of Student and Teacher Works

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  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @05:49PM (#42780839) Homepage

    Well, they can, but it won't be legally binding until they get the employees and students to agree to assign their copyrights.

  • On the other hand... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Soluzar (1957050) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @05:55PM (#42780893) Homepage
    This seems to be only about "work produced for the school", meaning papers for class, lesson plans and the like. It doesn't seem as though they plan to lay claim to your Great American Novel (TM) if you plan on writing one while enrolled or employed there.
  • Re:Yeah, fuck off. (Score:4, Informative)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @06:10PM (#42781007)

    This has been the case for a while where student work is turned over to a plagiarism screening service which then owns a copy of the work in perpetuity, whether or not the student consents to it.

  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @06:15PM (#42781035)

    Most tech companies claim ownership of anything created by employees, whether created at work or on their own time.

    But, the students are not employees, and signed no waiver when they enrolled. Claiming ownership of the student's creations is rediculous.

    That's not the case in California. Or rather, companies may still claim ownership of all inventions in their employment contract, but it's not enforceable. If the invention is done on the employee's own time and equipment and is not related to or derived from the employee's work at the company, the company has no right of ownership:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=lab&group=02001-03000&file=2870-2872 [ca.gov]

  • Re:Yeah, fuck off. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2013 @06:23PM (#42781093)

    Owning a copy of it is quite different than owning the copyright on it.

  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @07:21PM (#42781467)
    As the parent of a home schooled child, I can tell you that children are not required to do standardized testing. They are not even required in public schools. Standardized testing is universal in public schools for the same reason that (with only a few exceptions) 65 MPH is the standard maximum speed limit on highways. The federal government takes money from your community, and if you want it back, you have to do what they say. While many public schools are luring some home school families into their roll books with offers of free money, and these students would be required to take standardized test by the schools; just as common is the home school families who establish their own private school, don't take any federal money, and thus don't need to take the standardized tests.
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @09:11PM (#42782041)

    But, the students are not employees, and signed no waiver when they enrolled.

    I agree. A school should not be able to claim copyright on a student's work because they're not employed by the school. Teachers, on the other hand, are employed by the school, and thereby their work should be the property of the employer.

    No it shouldn't. Who made up THAT idea? The employer only owns the employee's work if the employer has a contractual arrangement with the employee assigning ownership of such work. (Accepting an assignment to work on a project is such an agreement.)

    Otherwise, anything you do on your own initiative is your own work and you own all rights to it. This is why tech companies typically make their employees sign agreements that explicitly assign their creative works to the employers. (Such agreements vary in how much of the employees work the employer has rights to, but they are usually pretty onerous.) They wouldn't bother getting you to sign something stating that what you do is theirs if they already knew that it was by default.

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @09:40PM (#42782201) Homepage

    I'm just thankful that we've made the news without any murders [somd.com], theft [nbcwashington.com], or corruption [wikipedia.org].

    I thought that we had gotten rid of the idiotic school board when they disbanded it in 2002 and got Marilyn Bland and the others out of there. (although, we haven't gotten rid of her yet [wordpress.com])

  • Re:Teachers (Score:4, Informative)

    by KillDaBOB (206494) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @09:51PM (#42782257)

    Yes teachers spend lots of time after hours working, but they do have lots of scheduled time to design tests and lesson plans as well.

    I don't know what it was like when you went to school, but in the high school I went to the teachers didn't have much scheduled time to work on such things. You got a half day every couple of months. You got one "free" period most days, but not every day, which was pretty much your lunch break. What scheduled time do you speak of? Both of my parents were teachers. You know what those half days consisted of? Mostly meetings. Again, not much scheduled time to work on lesson plans and the such. Teachers worked on all that stuff at home. Scheduled time my pink behind...

  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @10:08PM (#42782345)
    You're getting this wrong. Look up "work for hire." The default position is that work you do for your employer is theirs. Only a contract that specifically changes that would put the rights back in the hands of the employee who was getting paid a salary to do the work.
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @11:37PM (#42782785)

    In the US, it's not just as simple as crossing it out and signing the contract. For striking something from an official contract to actually modify the contract, you need the other party to agree to each change as well.

    This is usually done by striking out a clause and having both parties initial it, or by reprinting the contract with the changes included. I have signed several modified contracts, and all I had to do was get the employer to initial the parts I crossed out(which, as we had discussed it beforehand, they happily did).

    Don't be afraid to talk to whoever is providing the contract. They may understand where you're coming from and help with the modified contract, and if they don't you may not want to work with them after all.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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