3. Know your policy options.

“Uncertainty about teachers’ ownership of the materials they develop at work and an absence of digital-era state and district policies about the use of state- and district-owned materials represents a potential hindrance on innovation,” says the brief.

Therefore, state and district policymakers should establish clear policies. Policymakers have options when creating copyright rules, including:

  • If the policy is designed to have the teacher be the author of the educational resources she creates, take the position that the teacher is the author under the teacher exception and enter into a written agreement with the teacher If a state or district takes this approach, the state or district could also require that the teacher grant it a license to use, and to authorize others to use, the materials.
  • Alternatively, if a state or district takes the position that educator-created materials are works made for hire, it can grant licenses to educators in their own works so that they can use, share, redistribute, and refine educator-created materials. In other words, the employer retains the copyright but provides the creator of the content and others with a license so that reuse, revision, and redistribution rights are defined upfront.
  • States and districts can choose to license other state- and district-owned content, where the state or district owns the copyright in that work (such as teacher training materials), as open educational resources (OERs).

For more on the discussion on who owns teacher-created digital content, including licensing options under Creative Commons and 7 recommendations from SETDA on how states can introduce policies on copyright, read the full brief.