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Education Your Rights Online

School Board Considers Copyright Ownership of Student and Teacher Works 351

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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  • Child Labor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @06:52PM (#42780875)
    If, therefore, they do claim ownership, the parents should bring a case against the school system for violation of child labor laws.
  • Classic MBA Crap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @07:04PM (#42780969)
    Some MBA heard that x% of employees are earning a few dollars on the side and they realized that this could plug some budget holes (holes created by administration taking trips to Hawaii to learn the latest in ed-tech).

    But in classic MBA style they forget about incentive where if they take that money then the work won't be done. I suspect that again in classic MBA style that they need to "centralize" and "quality control" information leaving the system.

    This probably all stems from a requirement from some way overpriced anti-plagiarism software; even worse the pitch from said salesman might have documented (with great pie charts) that by doing this money grab the anti-plagiarism software would effectively be free.

    Lastly by claiming copyright they get better control over information that makes them look bad. So if some student makes a video of a drunk teacher and puts it on youtube then the school system will demand that youtube take it down on the grounds that they have copyright. I would love to see them trying to apply this to teachers with blogs, twitter accounts, and writing op-ed pieces for the local newspaper. These fools forget that there are a zillion places to put a drunk teacher video that will oddly enough defend the students' first amendment rights.

    To me this is just another great lesson for the kids that they learn that the educational system exists not one spec for them but entirely for the administration. In Ontario, Canada the school board got completely screwed by the government (before they screwed the government) so now like petulant children they are trying to keep the teachers from extra-curricular activities. They are now arguing that holding back these services won't harm the children. Whoa, wait a sec. Losers.
  • by snspdaarf ( 1314399 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @07:20PM (#42781067)
    1. Form an LLC
    2. Acting as your child's agent, put them under contract with the LLC for their creative works until their 18th birthday, with an option for the child to retrieve all their rights from the LLC at that time.
    3. ???
    4. Screw the school district!
  • Re:Wrong! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pwizard2 ( 920421 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @07:46PM (#42781251)
    What do you mean by "becoming"? This country has been fascist to the hilt for a long time now. Bullshit like Citizens United was just the icing on the cake.
  • Re:Child Labor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @08:31PM (#42781529)
    Although it also works in reverse. When I graduated uni, one company I applied to for work, took my major project, and started using it in production. Athough I didn't get the job, I was tipped off by a friend who'd started working there, that my work had formed the backbone of their new product. The uni's legal team got involved, and I ended up with a nice handsome payout for my efforts a few months later! :)
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by himurabattousai ( 985656 ) <gigabytousai@gmail.com> on Sunday February 03, 2013 @09:52PM (#42781929)
    Things like the double-nickel NMSL that was, thankfully, discarded in the mid nineties, the .08 BAC limit, or the legal drinking age of 21 years, all which were adopted nationwide as the result of coercion from the Feds, are the perfect car analogy for this situation. A majority of the states have highway speed limits of 70+. No federal highway dollars are currently tied to speed limits, just as no federal education dollars should be tied to dysfunctional standardized testing. In fact, the current model of taking away money due to poor testing performance practically guarantees that bad schools will remain bad. I'm not saying that money is the solution to every problem in our schools, but the proper application of sufficient funds can make a difference.
  • by chronokitsune3233 ( 2170390 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @11:18PM (#42782397)
    I love the encoding issues I find on this site. Instead of \xE2\x80\x9C for UTF-8, you get \xE2\x6F\x65 for the left double quotation mark (U+201C), which can't be decoded as UTF-8 because it's not proper UTF-8 due to the values of the second and third bytes. How does that even happen? \x6F\x65 and \x80\x9C aren't even remotely related-looking in binary form, and converting to another encoding doesn't work either. WTF? Or maybe it's Windows' fault. Yeah. That's it. It's not Slashdot's fault. It's Windows' fault. Stupid Windows.
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Sunday February 03, 2013 @11:27PM (#42782445)
    Trust me - it's a power thing. I served on a BOE and saw it first-hand. Bunch of nobodys in Podunk, but they get elected to the board, and they think they can do whatever they like. Of course, the standard distribution curve applies, so you'll have some that take it to ridiculous extremes.
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:31AM (#42782745)

    It's actually quite uncommon. Of the probably ten large (multimillion-dollar, international) corporations I have worked for, only one had this provision.

    I do software development - one of the most contentious patent fields right now, and probably the easiest field to slyly slip away with some company property(code) and do what you will with it. The one that did have that provision was a short contract, so I never really had a chance to work on anything out-of-office that they would want.

    It shows active malice and contempt toward your employees to say something they make in their free time, at home, with their own materials, is your property. If I ever go back on the job hunt, I sure as hell won't be pursuing any jobs with that clause.

    Telling me anything I code in my free time at home is theirs would mean I don't code in my free time at home. Me not coding at home would eventually make me loathe the company, and I'd probably just end up quitting in frustration so I can have my free time to myself again. Not a super productive environment for employees.

  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ying Hu ( 704950 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @01:44AM (#42783145)
    My school system (not in California) does not have any such claims in their employment contract, but does include such language in their Acceptable Use Policy for the computers and the school network - they claim anything stored on the school network is theirs. This has made me much more reluctant to put anything I create onto the network, but the part I find funny (and amazing) is that there is plenty of commercial stuff stored on our network servers for use by the teachers - videos from educational companies, Advanced Placement test materials, etc. I'm pretty sure the Educational Testing Service would object to my school claiming ownership over an AP test they have copyright to, and I'm sure the video companies would for their materials. This is the ridiculous level the f--ing lawyers and our copyright laws have brought us too - Orwellian newspeak meanings to our language (WE own it ALL!), OR, everyone is guilty, period (of course, the whole point of Orwellian newspeak was that everyone was, indeed, guilty, unless OK'd by Big Brother).
  • Re:Kid's artwork? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Loki_666 ( 824073 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @02:01AM (#42783201)

    I did this once. Spoke to them about it. Said i didn't like it and would only accept a modified version which said they only owned my creations if i used their time or equipment. They agreed.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @03:05AM (#42783399) Homepage Journal

    - How does one teach understanding?

        Try teaching what the kid is interested in? Many children have demonstrated an interest in something, only to be hushed, because the class was busy with something else, something more important. Horticulture, animal husbandry, chemistry, even history. "Tommy, we don't have time to discuss the Battle of Waterloo, get your colored pencils out, and draw me another meaningless chart that no one really gives a damn about!)

    - How does one measure the progress of students?

        When the kid begins to stretch YOUR mind, when he asks CHALLENGING questions, when you discover that YOU ARE LEARNING, just to stay ahead of him, then there is no need to measure the kid's progress. And, I speak from experience, believe it or not. I'm not a teacher in any formal education setting. Uncle Sam did make me an "Educational Petty Officer" in the Navy. Teach, teach, tutor, teach. I've continued in civilian life, always teaching my subordinates. And, those students challenge me often enough. They force me to learn more, in an attempt to stay ahead of them.

    If your students never challenge your own knowledge and education, then you've done it all wrong.

    - How does one understand something without remebering it?

    You teach CONCEPTS, not facts and figures. One who learns concepts can solve any problem to which the concept might relate. One who memorizes facts, figures, dates, and names may or may not ever actually solve a problem. He might run into a problem that he sees as similar to a problem solved by Professor Numty in England, way back in 1860, but he probably can't remember how Professor Numty solved the problem. He never understood the formula or how to apply it. Instead, he wasted time memorizing the professor's name, his biography, and all the awards the professor earned. All meaningless BULLSHIT.

    The real irony in such a situation would be, that Professor Numty's theory and formula aren't even applicable, because or poor memorizing fool really doesn't understand ANYTHING about his current problem, OR Professor Numty's work!

    When some cute little kid looks up at you, and asks, "Why is the sky blue?" what answer do you offer? The kid has a burning desire to learn, to understand - do you waste the opportunity, or do you help the munchkin to understand his/her world better?

    Bottom line, for me, is "Fuck the beancounters. Education is to important to allow Washington to have a say in it!"

I've got a bad feeling about this.