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There are some absolutely ridiculous situations created by the fact that all creative works are automatically granted a copyright on being put into a fixed form. Mostly, we just ignore these situations, because the vast majority of them never matter. But, as copyright has become more and more ridiculous, some people are beginning to start to make use of the stupid fact that all kinds of things can be “owned” that probably shouldn’t be “ownable.” Take, for example, school work. If a student creates something, it is covered by copyright, though most people never really consider or care about that. However, the board of education for Prince George County in Maryland is apparently considering a new “copyright policy” in which all students and staff would have to assign all of those copyrights over to the school system itself.
The school board claims it’s doing this to keep up with the times — especially the growing use of things like electronic curricula created by teachers, but obviously the policy goes way beyond that. Of course, we’ve seen other schools get greedy and seek to copyright and sell off curricula created by teachers. And that’s already a crazy idea. But to have students’ work included as well is (rightfully) angering a number of people.
Either way, this is yet another example of the insanity created by “ownership society,” in which people are being fed the ridiculous line that all ideas and information can and should be “owned” thanks to things like copyright and patents. Is it any wonder that now our public schools even going down to elementary schools, are seeking the “rights” to student creations in order to create for profit ventures? This is a public school system, a place in which knowledge is supposed to be shared for the sake of learning. And the lesson they’re sending is that information is to be hoarded by powerful entities for the sake of profits. Shameful.
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