Can I take my materials to a new school?
I’ve spent countless hours over the last few years preparing materials for my classes. Now I’m going to a new school, can I take it all with me and insist they don’t use them here any more?
It’s always a bit of an upheaval moving all your stuff from one place to the next, but it does give you a chance to clear stuff out.
But there are some things that you don’t ever want to throw away, and your materials stock, built up over the years, is part of this.
Who owns the copyright?
Now I’m no copyright lawyer, and if you want to dot the i's and cross the t's, then you should consult the Intellectual Property Office. But as I understand it, whereas normally if you write something you own the copyright, the exception is when you write it as an employee in the course of your employment, in which case it belongs to your employer.
Your contract actually may say something about this, to make this general rule explicit.
But even if it doesn’t, to retain the copyright of your materials, the general advice is that you are supposed to have written them in your own time, not using any of the employer’s facilities, and to have made it clear at the time that you are retaining the copyright but are prepared to use the materials produced for the school’s benefit.
You would normally show the latter point by putting your copyright and date on them when you first used them.
© TheoGriff 2015
If you haven’t done this, and thus don’t hold the copyright to your materials, in theory then you shouldn’t take them away to your next school.
But, come on! You know how the system works! If you want to take your materials to use in another school, you generally can. If you want to turn them into a textbook, after a quick chat with the Head, you generally can.
Share with colleagues past and present
And why on earth would you be so mean as to clear out the cupboard, wipe the hard disk, refuse to let your colleagues continue to use the materials that you have sweated over? Yes, take them with you to your new school, and share them with your new colleagues as a welcome gift. But don’t deprive your former colleagues of your clever insights, leave them all behind.
And upload them onto TES Resources as well, so that even more people benefit.
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