It's as if they lifted the plot right out of a Cory Doctorow novel. In Maryland, the Prince George's County Board of Education is considering a proposal that would allow the school system to copyright ownership of all work created by students and teachers. The sweeping intellectual property grab could mean that anything from a drawing to an app to a lesson plan would become the property of the school system, not the creator.
The proposal is part of a broader policy the board is reviewing that would provide guidelines for the "use and creation" of materials developed by employees and students. The boards's staff recommended the policy largely to address the increased use of technology in the classroom.
Board Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5) said she and Vice Chair Carolyn M. Boston (District 6) attended an Apple presentation and learned how teachers can use apps to create new curricula. The proposal was designed to make it clear who owns teacher-developed curricula created while using apps on iPads that are school property, Jacobs said.
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.
It seems that the idea here is to protect possible revenue that could come from "the growing secondary online market for teacher lesson plans," or from software or other internet-based applications and services that might be developed within the classroom, but have greater revenue potential in secondary sales outside the classroom.