Monday, February 4, 2013

Who Owns Your Kid's Drawing?

For John, BLUFHere is a School Committee out of control and demanding copyright privileges for the work of kids and teachers.

Copyright in these United States is out of control!

And it will bite us, bad, as it stifles creativity.

First off, copyright periods are getting longer and longer.  Soon the heirs of Lincoln will be on us about use of the Gettysburg Address.  Eventually the descendents of Moses will be complaining about people freely using the Ten Commandments.

And in Prince George County, Maryland, outside Washington, DC, the School Board is considering rules to make the work of teachers and students—and studentscopyrighted with the rights assigned to the School District.

Here is the lede:

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.
So, your First Grader colors a picture and does a good job at it, the work belongs to the school.  Not a big deal if it is on the frig, but it could be a big deal if you post it on your blog and your blog has advertising.  What if you Eleventh Grader does a science fair project and it turns out to be innovative?  What about a Twelfth Grader's essay for college?

And, it just isn't in school, per this paragraph from the article

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.
Here is Professor Ann Althouse's comment:
God forbid that teachers might become entrepreneurial about their creations and amass personal wealth.  It's important to keep them inside the system, teaching their wards that the government needs to possess everything in order to ensure that no one gets more than her share.
Copyright in these United States is out of control!

And it will bite us, bad, as it stifles creativity.

If you create something and keep it to yourself, fine.  If you create something and put it out there, there comes a time when you need to release it to the rest of us to tinker with.  Think of it as being like your children, who become independent when they turn 18, or 21.

For those of you quick to blame President Obama for things gone wrong in this nation, don't blame him for this.  This is squarely on Congress.  While this particular incident is from a School Committee, the general trend has been set, over the years, by the US Congress—the people we send back to Capitol Hill election after every election.

I hope our School Committee, and our Commonwealth Department of Education is NOT going to engage in this kind of thing.

Hat tip to the Althouse blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

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