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Who owns the right to your kids’ school work?

4 years ago

Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK

That’s probably not something you’ve thought about before, because why would you? It’s not like the finger paintings you stick to the fridge are on loan from your child’s school or something. Well, that might actually be the case in the US state of Maryland soon – but not if an internet campaign has anything to say about it.

‘A School Board in Maryland is considering a policy of copyrighting all student and teacher work,’ reads the Don’t copyright me! petition. ‘So a senior paper, a first grader’s poem, and a teacher’s art would all belong to the school system.’ Apparently Prince George’s County Public School will own the rights to work ‘even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with use of their materials.’ It feels a bit icky, and it’s probably not gonna encourage kids to do their homework. But in reality, it’s unlikely to be a real problem.

‘Counsel needs to restructure the language,’ said a spokesperson for the school. ‘We want the district to get the recognition… not take their work.’

Copyright law in schools is a bit of a minefield, to say the least. It’s a thorny issue with branches relating to textbooks, lesson plans, and sources students quote from in their work. This wouldn’t be the first time this happened to a teacher’s work, but with the kids it’s a little unprecedented.

Luckily – and lawfully – the work of minors is pretty safe from this sort of thing happening for real. Still, it’s not something you want to consider when appreciating some macaroni art.

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