Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teachers?

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Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teachers?

Unread postby Murphy » 18 Mar 2014, 02:27

I created a rather impressive ppt for a corporate training program I was asked to teach and the material they gave me just sucked. When I asked if I could use my own material they aske dto "review" it and then approved. Now I learned they took my PPT, put their private brand on it and are letting all their trainers use it! I am angry. Do I have legal grounds to take action and seek compensation since this occurred in a foreign country?
Last edited by Josef on 31 Mar 2014, 06:34, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Remove swearing
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Susan » 18 Mar 2014, 16:01

Sounds really bad: that's appalling behaviour. Before taking it further, do you have a way of proving you are the author?
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Polaris » 20 Mar 2014, 04:58

Actually that is quite common in China. I am guessing you are teaching in China. Is that correct Murphy? I had a similar problem about a year ago with a private education center. They do this on a fairly regular basis and it just costs too much money to hire a lawyer to go after them.
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Susan » 20 Mar 2014, 12:11

I've just thought of something else on this: if you were paid for the time spent preparing the lesson (this is sometimes mentioned in a contract), then the IP rights belong to your employer. IP law changes from country to country so Polaris is right to ask a question about where you are.
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Murphy » 24 Mar 2014, 08:55

Sorry I was away for training and just got back to the internet. My job description does not even list lesson plans as one of my requirements and no mention of any creative duties. Yes, I am in China and apparently from what I learned from the vets here and the CFTU rep, I would have to spend about 2 months salary to engage a lawyer and another month's salary to bribe the judge. Not worth it. I just refused to make any more lesson plans.
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Josef » 31 Mar 2014, 06:21

Writing lesson plans is part of teaching. Preparation is part of teaching. It's difficult to imagine a good teacher who does not expect to spend time preparing for the work he is paid to do. It's very difficult to separate preparation time from teaching time, and any school that specified that you were paid for teaching hours only without being expected to prepare as well wouldn't be worth working at.
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby Josef » 31 Mar 2014, 06:31

Since they provided material and you chose to use your own, with their approval, which they then appropriated, you certainly have the right to take them to court. Whether it's worth doing is a completely different matter...but I'm going off-topic because I don't think you asked that question.
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Re: Who owns the IP rights to lesson plans created by teache

Unread postby costume » 18 Jul 2014, 03:03

In the business world, if you create material while on the clock, the employer has the rights. Now this is not hard and fast but in the entertainment industry, people who are writing scripts and story ideas make sure to do so in such a way that their employer can never claim it was done on the clock.

On the face of it, I don't think you really have much of an option. I'm sure it's a fantastic presentation but do you think it's worth the money to sue? In China? And worth the damage relationships?

It sucks but it seems like trying to take this further will only cause you grief with little reward.

BTW, I had a boss once take my work, that I'd won a statewide award with, and have the organization that presented me with the award, issue a new certificate with his name included. So I had a certificate that was presented at the ceremony with only my name and he had one that had both of our names. Pretty frustrating but I took solace in knowing that I could recreate that level of work and he never would.
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