Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's your intellectual property...and it's your choice

Some of you expressed concern this week that a mini-course we're offering in the Park School required participants to sign a waiver assigning intellectual property rights from the course to the Discovery Channel.

As you know (I hope), the Park School's policy is that all intellectual property developed by students belongs to the students. In this particular case, however, we decided to provide students the OPPORTUNITY to participate in a workshop that had different rules.

Nobody was required to participate.

The course is not required of any student for any program.

It is completely voluntary.

Students were told upon registration that this is the requirement established by the two alum who are teaching it.

And we have ensured that this will not be the only such opportunity for students in Park this year; in fact, I'm about to announce another, very similar workshop that will not have the same intellectual property requirements.

We decided to allow this exception to our general policy for precisely those reasons: You guys are adults. You understand the issues and the possibilities. You can decide for yourselves whether this is something you want to do. And as long as we're not pressuring you, or requiring it -- as long as it's a purely voluntary activity -- we think you should have the right and the opportunity to make that decision for yourselves.

At this point, the class is full. I remain convinced that those students should be able to make that choice, and that one of our roles is to give them the opportunity to do so.


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