Maryland County's Plan: Copyright Students' Work
It all stemmed from an Apple presentation...
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2013 10:22 AM CST
A Prince George's County proposal has some up in arms.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – As far as proposed Board of Education policies go, it's an unusual one: A Maryland county is looking to copyright the work created by its students and faculty. As the Washington Post explains, that means a kindergartener's finger-painted drawing would belong to the school system. But the Prince George's County measure wasn't born out of a desire to stake a claim to the next Picasso's work; it stemmed from an Apple presentation that promoted teachers' use of apps in lesson-planning. The board chair says the intention was to define who owns any curricula a teacher designs while using an app on a district-owned iPad.

But the proposal goes beyond what's made on Prince George's iPads:

  • "Works created by employees and/or students ... 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."
The chair says the board didn't mean to "declare ownership" of students' work. "We want the district to get the recognition ... not take their work," she says. One education policy expert believes money is at the root of the proposal: The market for teacher lesson plans is a healthy one, and "I think it’s just the district saying, 'If there is some brilliant idea that one of our teachers comes up with, we want be in on that. Not only be in on that, but to have it all.'" The chair says the proposed policy could be amended at an upcoming meeting.

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Feb 4, 2013 11:20 PM CST
Having grown up just across the county line in a neighboring county to PG, I think I should let you all know that it is unlikely their teachers' lesson plans will contain anything worth copyrighting,
Feb 4, 2013 5:06 PM CST
I believe the Board got its idea from a story I read a month or so ago. This creative teacher was making a TON of money by selling her lesson plans to other teachers. I say "leave the teachers alone!" You hardly pay them anything. You work them to death. They have to put up with (some) rotten kids. Now they have to figure out other ways to make money so they can pay their bills - and now you want to take that away, too! One of these days the corporate bastards and groups like this Board are going to be trampled by the people. We are sick of your tyranny.
Feb 4, 2013 3:34 PM CST
If you write something down, even if it's your shopping list, you own the copyright. Whether you register it with the copyright office is another thing. The school board cannot assume the copyright of work created by their students or teachers unless something is signed granting them the copyright.