In an internet dominated world, where everyone is a publisher and free speech is king-Do you really know who owns your ideas?
It’s a question that has dominated my thinking, upset me, infuriated me, frustrated me and just made me plain mad.
If they’re my ideas, my created content, my hard work then surely they belong to me.
What sparked this blog post was something that happened to some resources that I put on the TES (Times Educational Supplement) website. I saw this tweet from the very well known US educator Vicki Davis (@Coolcatteacher)
Knowing that I have created a big piece of work (How to make a simple amazing ebook) that sounded exactly like the tweet I clicked the link.It sent me here-
Sharemylesson is basically the TES US sister site. Indeed it was my resource, my hard work, my ideas and it was EXACTLY the same as the resource I posted on the UK TES site.
What made me angry and upset was that nobody from the ‘ELA Team’ had sought my permission to use my resource as if it was their own.I nearly cried at this bit ‘Adapted from a resource contributed by TES Connect by Ideas Factory’ especially when I downloaded the resource (I could sign in with my TES Connect log in) and found that they had changed NOTHING. They were even stupid enough to keep my last slide mentioning my name and my website!
Just to clarify here’s the dictionary definition for the word
changed in order to improve or made more fit for a particular purpose; “seeds precisely adapted to the area”; “instructions altered to suit the children’s different ages”
At this point my blood was beginning to boil-The ‘ELA team’ had changed nothing they had simply stolen my resource and were passing it off as their own. I fired off a few messages to the TES and sharemylesson twitter accounts and to be fair the TES tweeps were very accommodating. Slowly though it was dawning on me that I didn’t have a leg to stand on (it must have been the TES DM about emailing their solicitors..EDIT-Since found out it was their Director of Resources Ann Mroz- appologies for mistake). I then googled the TES Connect Terms and conditions and to my horror but not surprise I found this-
With respect to all Content you post on the Websites, you grant TSL Education a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and licence to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. With respect to all Content you post to the Websites, you hereby waive any moral rights you have in the Content. You agree to perform all further acts necessary to perfect any of the above rights granted by you to TSL Education, including the execution of deeds and documents, at our request.”
OMG!Any work that is shared on the TES website by hard working, thoughtful and collaborating teachers basically belongs to TES. They can do what they want with it, by sharing resources on their website you “waive any moral rights you have in the Content”. They own your ideas, your created content and your hard work.
Is this wrong-certainly from a legal point of view it isn’t. TES is a business, a commercial entity that wants to make money and I completely understand why they have the terms and conditions.
Do TES contributors get paid for their resources? Is the message of ‘sharing’ and ‘collaborating’ with the ‘largest collection of teachers in the world’ one that fits with “waive any moral rights you have in the Content”.
So I have deleted all my resources-they are all available here on my website. I write this because I learn from my mistakes, I urge everyone reading this to learn from my mistakes as well. Look carefully at the Terms and conditions of any website where you have shared your ideas. If you are not happy, do not upload anything to them, find an alternative, fairer site.
Interestingly Twitter are in the middle of a court battle about supporting the right of the individual to own their tweets. Twitter says that its users own their tweets, and all that personal information. Read here for more about this fascinating case.
At least there’s one internet company that understand that your ideas are your own!Written by Julian S Wood - www.ideasfactory.me/about/"rel="author"