Does Your Kid Own Artwork Made in School? Maybe Not.

February 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm 2 comments

If your child brings home artwork you want to reprint on a mug, or a poetry series you may want to publish some day, think again. Your county school system may own the copyright. At least that’s what a new proposal by the Prince George’s County, Maryland Board of Education would do. Approved by a vote of 8 to 1 last month, this rule says that the school board owns work done by the school system’s staff and students–even if it’s done on their own time. The school system says it is only trying to protect its interest in digital apps developed by teachers on school-owned iPads. 

Even so, I find this proposal a major over-reach.

It’s not unusual for universities to have policies of sharing in the intellectual property developed by faculty members, particularly patented inventions, drugs and medical discoveries. To me it seems odd, though, to take this practice into the K-12 educational environment, where teachers don’t get susbstantial income from grants or publications as do their colleagues in higher ed. And if a teacher does develop a great educational app for their class and sells it (and one would expect there would be development and marketing costs associated with that), why shouldn’t they reap the benefits?

It’s even stranger to suggest that work done by students–whether in school or at home–would somehow belong to the school system. Particularly when it is a public education system paid for by those very families!

At the very least, the whole proposal seems antithetical to the mission and values of an educational system–to encourage creative and  Innovative thinking.  Maybe I’m missing something here. What do you think?  Feel free to post comments here and also email your thoughts to the PG County Board of Ed  and the Superintendent of schools


Entry filed under: communications, education. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Zoeller  |  February 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    It violates federal copyright law, where the artist maintains all reproduction rights, regardless of who owns the actual piece of art.

    • 2. amy's brand buzz  |  February 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Mark, thanks for the comment. Of course, artists can sign this right away, as I do when I produce work-for-hire films. But I’m a little surprised at the assertion that the school could possibly claim ownership of anything produced by the students. I wasn’t able to get the actual language that was approved. I suspect (and hope) it will be re-considered!


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Amy DeLouise Producer/Director/Author

Amy DeLouise Producer/Director/Author

Video and multi-media producer, brand wrangler and marketing collaborator, waking up audiences nationwide as a workshop leader/speaker, love creating mission-driven, advocacy communications. Violinist and a cappella singer.

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