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
Maryland County's Plan: Copyright Students' Work
A Prince George's County proposal has some up in arms.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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. (Read more copyright stories.)

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