Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

School Board Considers Copyright Ownership of Student and Teacher Works

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the mine-all-mine dept.

Education 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."

cancel ×

351 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Best quote of the article (0)

sabri (584428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780805)

âoeItâ(TM)s like they are exploiting the kids,â he said.

And that's the best quote of the article...

Kid's artwork? (5, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780825)

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.

Re:Kid's artwork? (-1, Offtopic)

ameoba (173803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780869)

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

So is spelling common words incorrectly. It's 2013 - how are you accessing the internet without having a built-in spell check?

It's not a typo (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780941)

It's the results of his creative efforts.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780955)

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

So is spelling common words incorrectly. It's 2013 - how are you accessing the internet without having a built-in spell check?

Speel check in't automatically installed - even with Firefox on all patlforms.

He could be using some really litewate internet broweser - like the one in Slitaz which ahs no spielchick for it.

As for me, I have better things to do than make sure my internet posts are perfect. As it is, this is a complete waste of time and arguing twith the Internet peanut gallery is just ludicrous.

If I really had a life, I wouldn't even have wasted my time with this pathetic post answering some pedant with no life on Slashdot.

Re:Kid's artwork? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780989)

Planetary dissem org

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781199)

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

So is spelling common words incorrectly. It's 2013 - how are you accessing the internet without having a built-in spell check?

So is spelling common words incorrectly. It's 2013 - how are you accessing the internet without having a built-in spell checker?

"Spell check" is an action, "spell checker" is a thing you can use, doesn't your browser have a built in grammar-checker.

Re:Kid's artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781359)

Not only that, but it is really a spelling checker, unless you're actually checking spells before you cast them.

Child Labor (5, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780875)

If, therefore, they do claim ownership, the parents should bring a case against the school system for violation of child labor laws.

Re:Child Labor (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781149)

A class action.

Re:Child Labor (5, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#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? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780883)

If it is a public school there is no way they can possibly claim ownership. The government requires attendance.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

XaXXon (202882) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780913)

The government doesn't require attendance of public schools. It requires schooling.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781073)

Except that even 'private tutoring' requires them to come into schools for their standardized testing (At least from the few people I know who did home schooling.)

Hence that school could claim it even if the student never set foot inside the school outside the testing.

The point is really that intellectual property is becoming too big a beast with FAR FAR too many unilateral arrangements being made.

The college anti-cheating with 'perpetual royalty-free licensing rights to all submitted work' or you get an F in the class, for example. Sounds like coercion to me, and if I'm not getting a kickback for it, why should they get to make money off something that only works if they have freely submitted works from TUITION PAYING STUDENTS in the first place?

Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves with the ever dwindling respect for the individuals right's especially here in America, but abroad as well (Not to say it's necessarily any worse here or abroad than in the less-than-recent past, only that it's getting worse than it was in the past few decades.

Re:Kid's artwork? (4, Informative)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781637)

That is like saying if I push a kid off a bridge I didn't kill the kid. The ground is what killed the kid. Very few people are able to do what amounts to alternative schooling which you have described. This is being forced on students.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780953)

and employees aren't slaves.. their out-of-the-office creations should not be owned by employers either. This should be a default, intrinsic right, and not something employees have to battle for. What's far more amazing to me than attempts by schools to do the same to students, is how willing we are to accept this insult in adult affairs while still getting upset when it's applied to children. So it's only ok for children to own the produce of their labor now?

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780997)

I think those are usually salaried employees and the reason for it is that it makes it a lot less complicated when there's a dispute over ownership. So, that people don't have to constantly log when they had various ideas and what led to the idea.

But, those folks are usually paid much better than teachers are and generally have funds to do their jobs in a way that teachers don't usually get funding.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781099)

I think those are usually salaried employees and the reason for it is that it makes it a lot less complicated when there's a dispute over ownership. So, that people don't have to constantly log when they had various ideas and what led to the idea.

But, those folks are usually paid much better than teachers are and generally have funds to do their jobs in a way that teachers don't usually get funding.

Of course, it's the best thing for everyone. Why worry about those pesky nuances of when someone got an idea or created something, just assume the corporations own everything.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781557)

You would be wrong. It is pretty much boiler plate now for any job, no matter how little it pays or whether it is salary or hourly. It is an ugly situation caused by an extreme disparity in power. It will only get worse as automation increases.

Re:Kid's artwork? (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:Kid's artwork? (2)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781117)

I would hope most people would cross out any such clause in an employment contract before signing it (I would). Sorry, but some asshole executive doesn't get automatic rights to what I produce on my own time using my own resources. If they want to outright *buy* the project I might listen to what they have to say but no promises on whether I would be willing to take their offer. If I were working on a closed-source project on my own time with intent to sell it later and someone tried to steal it from me like that, I might just GPL the thing out of pure spite.

Re:Kid's artwork? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781115)

Not only are they not employees, they are not free to resign until they turn 16 at least. The only reason it can't be considered slavery is that 'supposedly', the school is working for the parents to educate the child. The school claiming ownership of the child's work would, in fact, make it slavery.

Re:Kid's artwork? (0)

cigawoot (1242378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781159)

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.

Re:Kid's artwork? (2)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781177)

Yea particularly if you get to higher levels where the students are paying to be there.

Following current copyright logic...the students should get the rights to work created by teachers...given that the students are paying their salaries.

Re:Kid's artwork? (2)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781185)

PS how can it be up to a school board to determine law?

Re:Kid's artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781181)

So they make them sign something at the begining of the year saying the school gets all copyrights. If you don't like it you can... home school or attend a private school. It wouldn't be the first time a public school has done it that way. Ours makes us sign that we agree they are not subject to public records requests despite the attorney general insisting they are and what I know of case law saying they are. They're hope is when challenged they can claim we signed away our rights. Of course the prinicipal is on record as saying he was told to follow district policy and is not bound by the law.

Re:Kid's artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781487)

Don't worry - it won't happen.
They don't pay teachers enough that they would allow their works to be copyrighted by the schools - that school would find itself with no teachers and no students.

Someone needs to kick those school board members in the head, through their asses.

Re:Kid's artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781577)

That would be true if it weren't wrong and not legally unenforceable

Copyright and minors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780829)

How can a minor cede copyright of their work legally? This could really be abused, particularly with the ease of self-publishing books and software, an industrious teen could get shafted hard.

Re:Copyright and minors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781473)

an industrious teen could get shafted hard.

/fapfapfap

Yeah, fuck off. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780833)

Profane, but seriously, fuck off.

On what grounds do they thing they possibly own student work?

I can vaguely see an exceptionally unethical argument for teachers work, but student work? It's not like they have a choice as to whether they attend and it sure as hell is not work for hire.

What is wrong with these people?

Re:Yeah, fuck off. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780905)

"The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed."
    - Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator

Re:Yeah, fuck off. (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:Yeah, fuck off. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781093)

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

Re:Yeah, fuck off. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781549)

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

It is an inbetween state. The plagarism guys claim to own more than a single copy, but they don't claim unlimited unlimited rights to redistribute.

Re:Yeah, fuck off.part 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781423)

and if i sue you cause its there without expressed written permission?
it will go away fast.

They can't just declare this. (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780839)

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

Is there a union contract? (2)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780971)

If there's no union contract and no law to protect teachers' jobs, then the employer can simply say "by showing up for work after __REASONABLY_FAR_IN_THE_FUTURE_DATE__ you agree to __NEW_CONDITIONS_OF_EMPLOYMENT__.

For most jobs, "reasonably far in the future date" for a change that hurts employees would be anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months for items that can wait, or immediately for health and safety issues, emergencies, and issues where the deadline is imposed from outside (e.g. a change in law), etc.

For teachers, "reasonably far in the future" date is either the start of the next school year or, if it's late in this school year or late in the "job search season" for teachers who are planning to change employers, the following school year.

Re:Is there a union contract? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781301)

If there's no union contract and no law to protect teachers' jobs, then the employer can simply say "by showing up for work after __REASONABLY_FAR_IN_THE_FUTURE_DATE__ you agree to __NEW_CONDITIONS_OF_EMPLOYMENT__.

For things actually in the work contract, I've never seen that happen without a signature agreeing to the new terms. What happens when it goes to court and you say "Please provide proof I agreed to or was even aware of these new terms." and they can't? Things that are only company policies though can change at any time, the work contract just contains the very basics.

Re:They can't just declare this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780975)

And then it goes to court and the court agrees with the school. Why is it people still think ANY part of the government is looking out for them? How blatent can they be and people just act like, no that couldn't really happen. They are talking about SEIZING all pensions to help with the spending problem the government has, they are talking about disarming you while writing themselves lifetime secret service armed guard protection, they put US citizens on kill lists without a trial, they sue Arizona for enforcing the law, they refuse to answer the simplest questions about gun running or the death of an ambassador.

Its now gotten to the point where it is so stupid that the local school board realizes they have unlimited power that is just there for the taking. No one will be allowed to challenge this, and anyone who does will be prosecuted and threatened with years of jail time until they drop their case. They have shown they are a dictatorship and the people will protect them because going against it labels you a "bigot".

Suck it up and take it serf.

Re:They can't just declare this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780983)

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

Except for the small fact that minors cannot be legally bound to a contract.

Re:They can't just declare this. (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781087)

Copyright is implied, unless you decide otherwise. The reason that people add the copyright sign or add the words and the year make it easier to proof, but that does not make it so.

students and teachers aren't the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780857)

The first-grader and the teen aren't "employees". Money flows from the students to the school, not the other way around.

Re:students and teachers aren't the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781163)

Maybe they're thinking of changing this. Maybe they wish to pay students to attend school and produce imaginary property. /s

PG County Maryland? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780865)

That place is a shit hole, and I wouldn't worry about them producing anything fit for public consumption in the near future.

Theft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780887)

This is why parents need to have a choice of schools. This is much closer to theft than filesharing is.

Much closer to theft? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781043)

My first thought was "yeah, Maryland *IS* close to Washington, D.C."

Cue rimshot.

On the other hand... (1, Informative)

Soluzar (1957050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780893)

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:On the other hand... (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780999)

I don't think attending the school and working on a school project is considered "work for hire." So, I guess the school system can say whatever it wants. It can claim PI is 3, but it doesn't make it so

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781009)

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.

I maintain the copyright on any papers I write. The school district has no claim of ownership, unless they want to draw up a contract to pay me to write the papers.

Re:On the other hand... (2)

Drishmung (458368) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781121)

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.

For the pupils at least, that claim also likely has no standing, notwithstanding any delusional beliefs to the contrary of the board.

As per analysis of the contract in the Hobbit [wired.com]

All contracts require some consideration from all parties to the contract. Consideration, in the contract sense, means a bargained-for performance or promise. Restatement (Second) of Contracts 71(1). Basically, this is something of value given or promised as part of the agreement. This can be anything that the parties agree is valuable; the classic example is a single peppercorn. Whitney v. Stearns, 16 Me. 394, 397 (1839).

That means, the school has to explicitly give the pupils something in exchange for their copyright. 'Teaching' can't be it, since they are obliged to do that anyway.

Since they're funded by the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780909)

I'd think they were public domain.

Grad school employees and professors (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780915)

In the 1990s many universities made faculty and grad students who took research-assistantships assign copyrights for "relevant to their job" works even if they were done "on their own time." The logic was that the school was paying you for your brain, or at least the part of your brain related to your job, and your brain didn't punch a clock.

I can see a K-12 school system asking teachers to assign copyrights to creative works that are relevant to their jobs, but not to things that are irrelevant. A 2nd grade teacher who does art work that isn't related to teaching 2nd graders shouldn't have to quit her job to keep the copyrights on her paintings. On the other hand, it is reasonable to tell new-hire or renewing-contract teacher who creates worksheets for use in the classroom that things she creates in the future will belong to the district.

As for K-12 students, this is not only immoral but probably illegal: Until the age of 16 in most states, school attendance is mandatory. Up until high school graduation or a certain age cut-off, usually 21, it's an "entitlement" - teenagers over 16 have a legal right to finish a 12th grade education.

Expect a judge to enjoin the district from claiming copyright on student works shortly. Expect either a negotiated agreement or a lawsuit and temporary injunction barring non-job-related forced copyright assignments within a few months.

Expect high-quality teachers who earn extra money selling what they create to begin avoiding this district immediately.

Re:Grad school employees and professors (1)

penix1 (722987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781071)

I can see a K-12 school system asking teachers to assign copyrights to creative works that are relevant to their jobs, but not to things that are irrelevant. A 2nd grade teacher who does art work that isn't related to teaching 2nd graders shouldn't have to quit her job to keep the copyrights on her paintings. On the other hand, it is reasonable to tell new-hire or renewing-contract teacher who creates worksheets for use in the classroom that things she creates in the future will belong to the district.

And just how is that promoting anything school related off the clock? Many teachers spend hours off the clock developing innovative ways to teach their subjects. Often times their work load is such that they can't possibly complete their tasks without the extra hours. I see silly things like this rule stifling creative thinking more than promoting it.

Re:Grad school employees and professors (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781231)

Many teachers spend hours off the clock developing innovative ways to teach their subjects.

Salaried employees don't have a "clock" to be "off of." They wouldn't have created that system to improve their work if they weren't being paid to do that work in the first place. It is a logical argument to say that what they create as a result or effect of being paid belongs to the company that pays them.

Often times their work load is such that they can't possibly complete their tasks without the extra hours.

That's the problem with being a salaried employee and not a per-hour one. You don't have "off the clock".

I see silly things like this rule stifling creative thinking more than promoting it.

When it becomes and issue, I agree. But if it never becomes a issue, most people ignore it.

Re:Grad school employees and professors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781337)

Salary does not mean clockless.

You get paid a salary for X hours work per week. It isn't just "Salary for 24/7 your time, oh but to be nice you only have to be here 9 - 5".

Your salary is still *by the hour* it just isn't requiring a time-sheet; because the hours you work are predetermined. (and if you deviate from those hours + or - then you need to inform payroll so they don't under or over pay you).

As a result of all this; if they own their productivity when they aren't at the defined hours (as per their contract - they are getting a salary for those "hours" after all) then they aren't being paid for all the hours they work. I am sure overtime would come into it also. They need to roughly double or triple their salaries to cover all the extra hours that their minds are "creating" (24 hours per day; 8 hours sleep; 8 hours work; 8 hours overtime). Or at the very least they need to be paid for the hours it takes to come up with the ideas the employer is claiming ownership of. Even if they do occur outside of work time.

Even if they DO pay you extra for those hours; they can't pick and choose. What about all the hours you thought about work where you DIDN'T come up with something useful? They should be paying for every crap hour if they want to claim the valuable ones.

Re:Grad school employees and professors (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781451)

Odd, the last "salary" job I had was was "you get paid $X per month" whether the month had 28 days or 31, whether I worked 160 hours or much, much longer.

My trump card? I knew my boss knew I had the option to quit for greener pastures at any time, assuming I could find those mythical "greener pastures."

Re:Grad school employees and professors (2)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781609)

Salaried employees do have a clock to be off of, they have expected hours to work, yes occasionally they can be asked to work longer for no extra pay, but it does not give the employer the right to call on them 24/7, unless I was on call (and paid more because of it). If my employer rang me up at midnight and said I had to come in for free, because I was still on the clock, I would not so politely tell them where to go.

In a salary there is give and take and works fine if both employer and employee are reasonable. But the moment I leave work I consider I myself off the clock. Otherwise I could stay home all week, do nothing and then say I worked an 168 hour week, I was never off the clock, right.

Also I don't think I would be making minimum wage, I better go an complain.

Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780925)

A giant step backward for education in America! America is quickly becoming fascist!

Re:Wrong! (3, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Um, I don't think so (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42780951)

> 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

So, my daughter went to an art magnet school. During that time she created many works of art, some of which she entered into contests and won awards. She has commercial plans for a series of cartoon characters she invented while in school. If the school claimed ownership, she would not hesitate to sue, and she'd have a lot of company. Content creators can get really sticky about their own content, even as teenagers.

Therefore, I don't think the part about the school copyrighting content created by the students is going to fly. All they'd need is a couple of high profile losses, and we'd skip immediately to step 4, punishment of the innocent.

Classic MBA Crap (4, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Classic MBA Crap (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781025)

They wouldn't have ownership of the video of the drunk teachers. Unless that happened during class, it would be a leap too far to take that anything the students do during the time they are still in school belongs to the school. At best they could claim ownership for materials created in or for school, and that's likely a stretch.

Re:Classic MBA Crap (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781341)

I remember smoking a joint in the car on the way to high school, pulled up to a red light and there was our math teacher smoking a joint. We honked. Nobody snitched.

Re:Classic MBA Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781311)

While I hate to interrupt your MBA-hate fest, I have spent quite a bit of time around a public school system, and I can tell you that business-like thinking of any kind, much less MBA-level thinking, is nowhere to be found in upper administration.

Replace MBA with EdD however, and you might be on to something...

Re:Classic MBA Crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781629)

Blah blah blame MBA's blah blah whine whine.

That's the gist of your post, correct? Rhetorical question.

Small problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42780991)

Minors cannot enter into contracts.

Explicitly Includes Work Done On Your Time (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781013)

"Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public Schools or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials."

Just wow. Normally I would say if you live in PG county, now is the time to move. But the sad reality is that PG county is much poorer than neighboring Montgomery county... it's always been time to move out if you could. I was once robbed at gunpoint in PG county. The only reason the criminal was ever caught was because he made the mistake of trying the same crime in Montgomery county an hour later. The police there found over a dozen wallets and purses in the car from people he had robbed in PG county.

Re:Explicitly Includes Work Done On Your Time (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781273)

Doesn't seem so bad. Just don't create anything specifically for the use of the school. That lesson plan? Nah, it's for my use, not the school's. Make up a poster for the school dance? Sorry, you'll need a signed waiver from the board before I'll start.

Re:Explicitly Includes Work Done On Your Time (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781571)

But read the quote in your own comment:

"Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public Schools or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials." [emphasis added]

So this covers only assignments for school, not personal stuff you create at home for other purposes, such as that novel you've been writing. (Unless you turn in chapters of that novel for creative writing assignments!)

Read the article, summary leaves out stuff (0)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781017)

I wish I'd read the WHOLE article before I posted my earlier comments.

The school system isn't TRYING to take the copyrights on everything, and they know they need to do a re-write.

After reading the WHOLE article, I support their intent and, with respect to teachers' work-related stuff, their actions.

It will be interesting to see what the final draft of this will say.

Teachers (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781029)

It only makes sense to me that the school system would own any lesson plans and tests created by their employees.

Re:Teachers (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781239)

It sounds like it does, on the surface, but lesson plans are something teachers currently trade, sell, and use as a basic resource. The difference between a just-graduated teacher and a teacher with ten years of experience is that the teacher with experience has a stack of lesson plans, and can swap out which ones they use on any given day based on the progress, skill, and mood of their students. And, let's not forget, all of this is being created in the teacher's own time, outside of school hours.

Oh, and I doubt the school district will be making these available for free to their own teachers. (Unlike the teachers themselves, who might share with a co-worker.)

Any teacher who's spent any amount of time working on their own lesson plans would immediately start looking for a job outside the county. Any teacher who's any good wouldn't take a job in that county. You'll have beginner teachers who don't know any better, or teachers who've been there for ages and don't want to move, who'll just be hanging out until retirement. (And not updating any of their lesson plans.) Oh, and teachers who buy all of their lesson plans, because they can't be bothered to come up with them themselves. And the beginners will probably leave as quick as possible.

So you're trying for high-turnover, and chasing out any teacher who wants to invest their own time and effort into teaching the kids. Which means you'll get low-quality teaching, and low-quality schools.

Legalized robbery (1)

niiler (716140) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781037)

At my university, this is already the policy, more or less. If you develop software and release it GPL, they'll let you be. But otherwise, they own everything you produce. This is also true for most companies. Interestingly, if a history prof writes a book, he gets to keep all the profit. But if you as an engineer or programmer develop something and try to sell it without the university, even if done on your own time, the university will claim a conflict of interest and claim ownership. Many corporations do this as well. In some cases this may have some merit in that you have additional resources that you wouldn't otherwise have, and therefore couldn't have done this without corporate help. But in many cases the individual truly is developing this on their own - and the corporate entity still claims it. My thinking is that if corporations want to raid the fruits of their employees' off hours activity, they ought to be forced to take it to court. Of course, the only way this can be fair is if the corporation pays the entire court cost including that of the employee (will never happen). Likewise, the employee should have taken pains to demonstrate that their product was produced independent of corporate resources. Finally, if the employee wins, he keeps his job, keeps his invention, and keeps his money (having no court costs).

Sorry if I'm a bit discombobulated... I keep restarting my typing due to a certain two year old...

Re:Legalized robbery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781255)

That's true for employees, because your employer is paying you to make those works. And when you're salaried, there's no difference between "on the clock" and "off the clock". It's not true for students because they are paying for the use of school facilities. The school has no claim over any student-created works.

Quality Entertainment for Europe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781045)

I used to facepalm when reading this kind of reports.

Now I simply pity those that put up with that kind of crap and laugh at their expense.
Its so bad that its funny again. Especially since its always something new and unexpected.

Take care not to end up in prison over a contract violation when unlocking your smart phone, my friends.

Make it hard for them (3, Interesting)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year and a half ago | (#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!

Greedy Bastardism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781069)

Certainly we live in an age of greedy bastardism. Disney going after stores that create images on cakes that bear some resemblance to a Disney character. Then submarine patents, copyright that extends on to infinity, employers declaring that all that their employees create belongs to the employer (whether done on company property or not), and now schools demanding that anything a student of a school or a teacher of a school creates (whether on company property or not) belongs to the company. I'm quite tired of it all. If companies are persons, then they have to learn to share with other persons. There should be not greedy "mine mine mine" here. Here's an idea. What the company creates, the company keeps. What the employee creates the employee keeps. What the employee brings to the company (both body and ideas) can be used by the company for the time that the employee is retained by the company. When the employee leaves, so does their works. If the employee is paid by the company during the process of creation, then for the amount of time the employee was compensated, the company can use the work, after the employee is gone. Then the work reverts back to the employee. Example: a company employs an employee for 10 years to create something. The employee is compensated during the entire time. After the employee is no longer working for the company, the company can use the ideas created by the employee for 10 years (then must stop). Ideas should only be copyrightable for 20 years, so anything already in the public domain can't be re-copyrighted, and are fair use by either employee or employer.

On the bright side... (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781089)

They are at least thinking about the issue before there are lawsuits.

Hopefully they will think a little more and come up with something less outrageous. My university's policy was that the student owned the copyright but the university acquired a royalty-free licence for its own use.

Dropouts (1)

Mark Rawls (2648691) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781101)

I imagine that this will incite a slew of creative and intelligent students dropping out of school. I certainly wouldn't put up with having my school suddenly flipping the switch and saying that everything I do belongs to them. As a musician and web designer, that would be an instant deal breaker - I would seek home education immediately, or go with one of the many more reasonable options online (such as Florida Virtual School).

Copyright assignment == contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781109)

Copyright assignment is a contract; minors cannot enter contracts. This is unenforceable and absurd.

Private school maybe, public no way (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781123)

If it was a private school doing this I could see they might have a chance of an argument. As a public school system, tax payer funded, doing this it is complete crap. Isn't there something in the u US about government agencies not holding copyrights anyway? Or is that just on the federal level? Or am I completely mistaken on this point?

Re:Private school maybe, public no way (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781579)

3.1.3 Does 17 USC Â10560 apply to works of State and Local Governments?

No, it applies only to federal government works. State and local governments may and often do claim copyright in their publications. It is their prerogative to set policies that may allow, require, restrict or prohibit claim of copyright on some or all works produced by their government units.

Re:Private school maybe, public no way (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781621)

Ah...thanks for the clarification.
PG County's proposal is still BS. At least for the student's work.
Teachers, as employees, may well need to sign off on such things as terms of employment. I don't know. But it's an employer/employee relationship.
That does not exist with the student, who is compelled to attend...see other posts for other reasons

To quote Spock (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781155)

"I believe my response would be go to Hell. "

You can't just be angry at the messages coming out of this crazy factory. You have to be angry at institutional structures encouraging the lunacy coming out of these boards on a seemingly daily basis.

Yet another example (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781173)

of the need to repeal copyright

Re:Yet another example (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781209)

You might want to flesh out how, exactly, you got from A to B there. If anything, abolishing copyright would make it easier for the school board to steal their students work.

Re:Yet another example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781459)

You might want to flesh out how, exactly, you got from A to B there. If anything, abolishing copyright would make it easier for the school board to steal their students work.

how can you steal something if it is free?

Not without compensation (1)

RichMan (8097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781211)

They can't take copyright without compensation. It would mean renegotiating the contracts for teachers.

If they want the copyright on my kids work, that will $1000 a page. The kid is a creative genius.
I will supply the crayons the paper. If they are willing to pay.

copyright is usual controlled by who paid for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781221)

You pay the teacher, so you have some rights to the work. however the student pays you. so the student has rights to their own works. It's a rather simple equation.

Um... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781245)

No. Sorry. You cannot copyright that which you a.) don't create, and b.) don't pay for. Sorry. but students are not your employees, nor are they work-for-hire unless you decide to start paying them for coming to school.

How much you wanna bet a Republicant was behind this brain-dead idea?

Re:Um... (1)

iwaybandit (1632765) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781569)

If we're talking about Prince George's County in Maryland, I'll bet against. The board appears to be elected on a non-partisan basis. Take a look. [pgcps.org]

Contracting with minors ? (1)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781279)

In Australia generally speaking a literary, dramatic, artistic or musical work made pursuant to terms of employment belongs to the employer. That position can be modified by agreement, but in the absence of agreement if you get paid a salary for doing it, it belongs to the boss. If you're not an employee then it belongs to the author, again subject to modification by agreement. Things like sound recordings or films are different, copyright in those would belong to the person who owns the equipment on which they were created. That could be the school. A contract with a child to assign copyright may well not be enforceable. A private school might include an indemnity by parents in favour of the school in their contract with the parents. A public school couldn't insist on it. In either case if a school board, without any contractual mechanism, simply declared that they owned copyright in students literary works it would have much the same legal effect as if they had declared they owned Manhattan with an option on Rhode Island.

What about sports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781317)

If a basketball or football coach creates a play-book in their time as the coach, does the school now own that play-book?

Unintended Consquence (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781327)

If work done by a teacher at home because property of the school, then that work would become work for the school Then, any injury at home tangentially related to the work would become a work related injury.

It's a half-measure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781353)

Why not just take an another step and claim copyright on all work done by a student in their life?

After all, they did it using the education they got in a school.
It is inherently unfair to rob the Board of Education of fruits of their labor.

Expensive Legal Fees (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781373)

The school board is going to be faced with very expensive legal fees and lose. This will get challenged and their claim to ownership of student works will be thrown out. Hopefully the school board will be forced to pay the legal fees of the kids and a class action lawsuit will be brought against the school board heaping on more costs so that nobody else tries this. Copyright law is pretty clear that the creator of the work is the copyright owner unless explicitly otherwise agreed. Students are minors and can't agree to this.

from a former student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42781401)

FUCK YOU
i do something neat and unique for homework and get a good grade YOU SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO STEAL IT

all this does is make you do as little as possible now to get buy
great now students will be as bad as hollywood and in no time at all america will be a land where you can immigrate ONLY if your a retard

Linux? (1)

archer, the (887288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42781511)

So, what would've happened if this was a policy at the University of Helsinki, in 1991?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?