Almost two years ago I went to a DEECD inservice, where intellectual property was discussed. A presenter outlined that if we developed work at school, using school time and school resources (such as a computer) then the intellectual property belonged to the school. Initially, for about two seconds, I was shocked. But it all made sense really quickly, that’s why we get paid, to essentially sell our souls.
People who work for, say, Lego or Greenseas Tuna and develop a new line of toys or flavoured tuna don’t actually expect to be paid over and above the work they’re paid to do. They’ve been employed to develop these new lines and by doing so, they are fulfilling their role at work.
So if you work in your own time and use school resources, some of the work belongs to you and some to the school. How on earth would you ever work out who owns what in that instance? I guess you’d have to hope that there is never an issue arising with such work.
Taking the DEECD advice into account, it then follows that if you tweet, Facebook or develop blogs, wikis, etc. in work time using work resources, this actually belongs to your workplace. If you leave your workplace for another sector, you may actually be required to give up some or all of the examples above. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Almost panic, in fact.
What of people who kindly share their work, developed at school, but don’t attribute it to their workplace but just to themselves? What of people who sell such work on Scribd?
So what about if you do work in your own time, with your own resources, but make a wiki, for example, with your school name and/or logo on it? Expect that you might need to fight for it. I know of a friend who did all her work in her own time, using her own resources and no links whatsoever to her workplace and her school STILL tried to take it away from her when she moved on.
Some of these scenarios are nightmarish, so it could be useful to ensure that they are covered in the school or workplace social media policy. As the pace of technology outstrips policy and legislation, it may pay you and your workplace to be ahead of the game to ensure no nasty surprises down the track.