School systems in the Washington region have policies that address the use of copyrighted materials, but none has rules that allow ownership of what a student creates, officials said. Some do address ownership of employees’ work.
The District holds common law copyright, at a minimum, to all relevant intellectual property its city and school employees create, a spokeswoman said.
In Montgomery County, the school system says supplies, equipment or instructional materials that are made by a school employee using “substantial time, facilities or materials” belonging to the system become the property of the public schools. If the activity is performed partially on private time and partially on public time, the school superintendent will approve the arrangement, according to the district’s conflict-of-interest policy.
Peter Jaszi, a law professor with the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at American University, called the proposal in Prince George’s “sufficiently extreme.”
Jaszi said the policy sends the wrong message to students about respecting copyright. He also questioned whether the policy, as it applies to students, would be legal.