Adina Sullivan recently tweeted:

Remembering work I’m doing is “for school” but not paid, so doesn’t belong to school. Need to set up on personal page/site, not school.

To which I wrote back:

Work done FOR SCHOOL, even when done on own time, falls under work for hire. Check it!

So, I did…I remembered writing about this some time ago and looked up the “old” (June, 2006) blog entry:

Ken Task asked these questions recently…I thought I’d share them with you because they’re great questions. He was sharing this scenario, possibly in response to this article on TeachersPayTeachers, a site I briefly reviewed here and mentioned at the request of the author, Paul Edelman. As I said before, Locking things up isn’t the way to go…it’s an old model. I’m glad to see Dean Shareski has also noticed this, too.

Here are Ken’s questions:

Let’s say a teacher develops a GREAT lesson plan, activity, unit, etc.. at your ISD. Then decides to use the site that allows them to sell it via an EBay like system.

1. Did the teacher use any ISD resources while developing their product?
2. Are there any “legal claims” an ISD can make upon the items being sold by the individual teacher that would prevent a teacher from doing so?
3. Does your ISD already have a “policy” to cover this example?
4. Has that policy been “tested” in court?

What do you think the answers to these questions are?

Of course, consider that teachers employed by districts may face work for hire copyright infringement. According to Carol Mann Simpson, copyright guru….

Just about anything that a teacher does within the context of his or her job could be claimed as the intellectual property of the school. A common question is to inquire if doing the work at home or on weekends or vacation makes any difference in the work for hire rules. Actually, no, it makes no difference. If the work was done “within the scope of employment” it matters little where or when the work was done.
Source: Excerpt from page 23, Carol Mann Simpson’s book entitled ” Copyright for Schools“, ISBN#1-58683-192-5

So, the question is, what will districts choose to do, if they should find out? Will enterprising teachers be “outed” by their colleagues?


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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