Education Editorial: Student and staff copyrighted material

Education Editorial: Student and staff copyrighted material

By: Bill Bosher - email

With budget challenges, school safety, and student performance as critical issues, some school boards seem not to have enough to do.

The Prince George's County Maryland school board has recently proposed to copyright all material created by staff and students. If a teacher writes a lesson plan or a student draws a picture, it would belong to the Prince George's School Board.

Perhaps we can better understand their logic when we realize that portions of the county were ceded in 1791 to form the District of Columbia. Maybe they think that a young David Baldacci resides in their classrooms and holding his copyright will address future budget shortfalls…wish we had thought of this when David was a student in Henrico.

This is not even the practice in universities. Having chaired about twenty-five PHD dissertations, I clearly explain to the student that while I am listed for research purposes as the principal investigator, the student owns the work. Apparently the implications are that a student could shape an idea in a paper, several years later expand it into a best selling novel, and the school board would claim ownership.

Talk about suppressing creativity….not to speak of the legion of intellectual property lawyers required to implement this policy.

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As for "ideas whose time has come", I hope that this one never arrives. Prince George's County was named for the husband of British Queen Ann….he was Prince of Denmark. Perhaps Marcellus, a character in Hamlet, was correct when he said, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."