Now the National Education Association has released its new statement on digital learning and it includes a statement about the ownership issue seeking to create a new standard – and include this issue in collective bargaining:
…education employees should own the copyright to materials that they create in the course of their employment. There should be an appropriate “teacher’s exception” to the “works made for hire” doctrine, pursuant to which works created by education employees in the course of their employment are owned by the employee. This exception should reflect the unique practices and traditions of academia.
All issues relating to copyright ownership of materials created by education employees should be resolved through collective bargaining or other process of bilateral decision-making between the employer and the affiliate.
The ownership rights of education employees who create copyrightable materials should not prevent education employees from making appropriate use of such materials in providing educational services to their students.
Stay tuned. This was a dusty back alley of the eduworld with just the occasional copyright infringement suit from a publisher. But with real money increasingly at stake (the British Corporation TSL invested millions in its joint venture with the American Federation of Teachers, Better Lesson has attracted substantial investment, and some teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers are making six figures selling their material) look for more legal and policy action.