One area where intellectual property rights really don't fit in is in educational institutions -- where the entire premise of teaching (spreading information and helping more people understand and use it) goes against the entire concept of things like copyright (hoarding information and setting up artificial scarcities to charge for the dissemination and use of that info). However, in a society where people seem to think that you can and should "own ideas," you get crazy situations like the following. We had already discussed how some schools were struggling with the fact that many teachers were sharing or selling lesson plans
online, and now Copycense
points us to the news of a school district that is considering a proposal to claim copyright on any output created by a teacher with direct or indirect support from the school
. Now, you can argue all you want that if the teacher created the lesson plan at the school, the school should "own" it, but that really misses the point. The school is not a private, for-profit institution. Why should it care
if teachers do more with their lesson plans? The schools weren't selling other lesson plans before. It's not as if this "takes money away" from the school or competes with the school in anyway. If anything it's pure jealousy
. The school realizes some teachers are making some money elsewhere and suddenly demands a cut.