Tell Maryland School District that Schools Do Not Own Rights to Students’ Work

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Target: Prince George County Public School Board

Goal: Repeal policy of claiming copyright over all students’ work

Recently, the Board of Education in Prince George County, Maryland created a policy that gave the copyright for all work created by students and teachers to the schools in the district. This policy was designed to clarify the ownership of lesson plans, but is expanded to say that the school has copyright over everything from book reports to art projects. This policy is illegal and immoral. Students should not be told that simply going to school repeals their right to any works they create.

The school board’s new policy states that any work created by students or staff of the school is copyrighted by the school. This includes work created by students with their own materials and on their own time. While the policy was created to give the school copyright of lesson plans, it has been expanded to allow the schools to own every piece of work created by any student in the district. The district claims that the intent was not to claim ownership over the students’ work, but they have not changed the wording of the policy to prevent claiming this ownership.

This policy is illegal and immoral. There is nothing in current U.S. copyright law that allows the school to take the copyright from the student without the written consent of the student. The school board is attempting to claim illegally the copyright of students’ work, and has consistently refused to address the issue. This policy is teaching students at the school district that the work they put time into creating is not truly their own work. Students legally and morally deserve the copyright to works they have created both in and out of school. Tell the Prince George County school board that they cannot claim copyright over students’ works.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prince George County Public School Board:

Recently, you approved a policy that would give schools in your district ownership over works created by students and teachers. This includes works created in their own time, with their own materials. While the policy was designed to clarify ownership of lesson plans, it gives the schools ownership over everything from high school book reports to elementary school drawings. This takes the copyright away from the creators of these works without their consent.

I ask you to repeal this policy. Current U.S. copyright law prevents the transfer of a copyright without written consent. By having this policy, you are illegally asking students to give up the rights to their work. Students should not be learning that they do not own the works they create. Repeal this policy and allow the students to keep their legal copyright to their works.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

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