We have had a running discussion of the expansion of copyright and trademark laws in this country. Now, the Prince George’s County Board of Education is moving toward claiming copyright to work created by staff and students that would include everything from a teacher’s lesson plan to a toddler’s finger painting project. This would make the county the first to claim such ownership over the work of students and teachers. It is part of the ever-expanding balkanization of work in this country into propriety material — backed up by draconian civil and criminal penalties.
The policy in my view is both ill-conceived and poorly drafted. Yet, it was recommended by the board staff to grab ownership rights for the county. It would make any work created during school hours the property of the county. The county could then market and sell things like lesson plans. I am less sure of the basis to claim the work of students who are neither paid by the county nor surrender propriety claims as a conditions for a public education.
The proposal in my view is an example of the thoughtless type of action that we have seen from our schools in areas like zero tolerance policies. Our schools seem to have evolved into the worst form of expansive bureaucracy that evades both logic and limits. I am shocked that this proposal made it beyond a water cooler discussion and yet it is being seriously considered by the board.
What do you think?
Source: Washington Post