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Copyright Update

May 5, 2009

My recent post about copyright, quality assurance and Glow certainly got the conversation started! Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening since…


CC: Blackbeltjones

As well as getting the most comments I’ve had so far, my post on the potentially crippling impact that restrictive copyright may have on the future of Glow has also given me more food for thought than ever. I have never been happy about the current state of play with regards to copyright, namely, that my employer owns the copyright for any materials I produce, but it is Kenneth McLaughlin‘s comment that has really got me thinking. He asks where in the McCrone agreement it says

that your employer has ownership/copyright on the teaching materials you create?

I have been through the McCrone agreement with a microscope, and he’s right… It doesn’t say that. So does that mean that the restriction I thought was in place has gone? I’m not sure anymore. It may be a part of my ‘Terms & Conditions’ agreement that I signed with my Council and I’m checking this at the moment. I’ve also started speaking to my union to see if they can clarify the legal position (at the moment, they aren’t too sure but it’s early days yet).

One thing is coming through loud and clear, the advent of online collaboration and ‘sharing’ has happened faster than the existing structures can cope with. Nothing surprising in that, but if we are going to make the real changes we hope are possible, we need to sort this out now.

To do this, I need your help. I need to find out if anyone out there working in Scottish education has a specific mention of copyright in their contract — good or bad. I’m waiting to hear back on my own T&C, and I think I (we?) need to get a clearer picture of where I stand before I make a complete wazzock of myself.

If the employers do indeed hold the copyright in my intellectual property, then I am prepared to put forward a motion to the SNCT or the Unions or the Scottish Government or indeed anyone else that can change this (see my previous post for my thoughts on how the system could work). That’s a task for the future, but at the moment, I need any and all information that you can provide! You can either comment, or you can contact me directly by email at: scottishteacher [at] gmail [dot] com

And finally, thanks to Ewan for suggesting a way of sabotaging (in a constructive way) the materials you produce. By using CC materials in your resources, the CC license becomes an integral part of your ‘new’ materials so, unless your LA are willing to pay for commercial clipart/photos for your worksheet (highly unlikely) they will have to accept the materials as having the same CC license… sneaky!

More to come I’m sure!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. anon permalink
    May 5, 2009 10:49 pm

    Whilst not sure about my contract all employees are required to agree to and sign the council’s internet and computer use agreement. This specifies that anything produced on Council equipment belongs to the Council.

  2. Gordon Brown permalink
    May 7, 2009 11:01 am

    Hi Neil,

    I’m afraid I can’t offer any info re contracts. As for anon’s comments above, who knows what equipment has been used? One’s brain? I don’t think the Council owns that yet!


  3. May 8, 2009 7:36 am

    I’m not in a Scottish school, but here on the south coast anything that is created using the school’s equipment can be considered as property of my employer. Not sure if this is widespread.

    When creating material for sharing, I ensure that I use my own equipment and own time therefore avoiding the grey area.


  4. Dorothy Coe permalink
    June 6, 2009 7:40 pm

    A bit late in commenting here on this fascinating and perturbing thread, but hey ho.

    I was unaware of the supposed rights of my local authority to what I would have considered “my stuff” until the IPR session at initial Glow Mentor Training by the RM ppl.

    Presumably someone there knows where this idea came from?

    Have you found out anything more Neil?


  5. Kate permalink
    June 29, 2009 10:42 am

    Later still in commenting. Again not in a school but in related public sector work in Scotland and IPR and copyright issues are covered in our ‘code of conduct’. There appears to be nothing similar in the GTC code but perhaps that’s where a statement of intent should live? Definitely agree that guidance should be of the Creative Commons variety. Does that then get around the issue of differences between LAs?

  6. September 5, 2009 8:57 am

    If you create work at school then it’s theirs. If you create it out of school it’s yours 100%. Pupils work created at school is 100% theirs.

    We, Tech teachers, teach IPR within product design. It’s good to re-iterate to pupils that their work is theirs, they own it and only they can allow their designs, graphic or product, to flourish.

    I tend to have no time to create resources, apart from quick copy/paste powerpoints for design, at school so have everything on a usb stick.


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