Week 10: Underpaid Teacher v. Wealthy, Resourceful School System

Copyright was the discussion of this week’s lecture and I was kind of excited to dive into the world of ambiguous ownership. The most unsettling discussion this week was about ownership. I think it is really unfair that companies, corporations, institutions, etc. get to own the rights of someone’s craft. The company did not move a finger in the creativity and intellectual process yet, they reserve the rights and have ownership. The idea of another “person” basically taking credit for someone else’s work is disturbing. One of my high school teachers was working on a presentation for a conference to make kids focus more in classrooms and received a lot of praise for her work but, later was given a notice that the school system will be taking credit for her work because the PowerPoint she made was on a laptop that the school provided. To hear stories like this pisses me off because who is an individual to a corporation? How could an insufficient paid teacher battle a wealthy, resourceful school system to find out, in fine print, her labor is owned in exchange for a bi-weekly underpaid salary?

Extending the idea of “human corporations”, corporations have made themselves to seem like a person, when in fact it is a “fictitious, immortal body.” One of the many reasons that these slick corporations portray themselves like a human is so that no single individual is reprimanded when things go south. It’s such a conniving method, but very smart.

I realize that these corporations, institutions, or whatever you want to refer them as, do give credit to the creator but, at what cost? The corporation just throws some percentages of money to the creator and then, BOOM, the corporation owns it. It makes me really sad to think that money can purchase art, intelligence, effort and ingenuity. People deserve to be paid for their service but, also be owners and have a say in how their work is dealt with.

The part that splits my opinion on ownership is Richard Stallman and his idea of free software. I love that people can contribute to make a program better for everyone. What Stallman stands for is amazing and I love him for that! I kept thinking of Stallman’s stance as people who are intrinsically motivated while others are extrinsically motivated. Stallman’s idea would work in a perfect utopia, but I do think people do have the right and option to have ownership of something they created. I thought about this long and hard and I honestly do not know where the line should be drawn between free and paid services.

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