CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Education

February 4, 2013

Copyrighting Your Kindergartner's Doodles?

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

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.

He said there would have to be an agreement between the student and the board to allow the copyright of his or her work. A company or organization cannot impose copyright on "someone by saying it is so," Jaszi said. "That seems to be the fundamental difficulty with this."

For Adrienne Paul and her sister, Abigail Schiavello, who wrote a 28-page book more than a decade ago in elementary school for a project that landed them a national television interview with Rosie O'Donnell and a $10,000 check from the American Cancer Society, the policy — had it been in effect — would have meant they would not have been able to sell the rights to "Our Mom Has Cancer."

Dawn Ackerman, their mother, said she would have obtained legal advice if there had been a policy like the one being considered when her daughters wrote their book about her fight against cancer 14 years ago.

"I really would have objected to that," Ackerman said.

Paul agreed, saying the policy seems to be ill-conceived. It could stifle a child's creativity and strip students and their families of what is rightfully theirs, she said.

"I think if you paint a picture, publish a book or create an invention as a kid, your family — certainly not the school board — should have the rights to that," she said.

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