Oakland elementary school students resist Caltrans' insistence on taking copyright to their mural

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/27/kids-vs-copyfraud.html

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Welcome to the world of work-for-hire, kids! (Even when you aren’t being paid…)


Just make a mural that says Caltran can suck it.


What’s the “reasoning” here? What “principle” are they upholding? Why would they need a copyright? What would they ever hope to do with this mural that would require a copyright?


The freeway underpass is Caltran’s property, so i would imagine that they feel that any work done on them is their responsibility. Therefore making them “owner” of said work in their eyes.

I get where they’re coming from on this, but it’s pretty silly trying to assert copyright on a mural created by school children and local artists.

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They need to “own” it, meaning what? Can’t they just say to the school, “Because the mural is going on our property, we need to approve it before you paint it”? (But wouldn’t that already be a part of the process?)


Those are questions best answered by Caltran since i do not know the reason beyond speculation. The reasonable thing would be for them to just approve the design, not sure why they need the rights to the design as well. Probably it’s something their legal department came up with to scare people away from trying to put murals on their property. I don’t know.

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Ownership of the mural itself isn’t the same thing as ownership of the copyright. It doesn’t impact Caltrans in any way if the elementary school runs a fundraiser selling T-shirts that include reproductions of the mural on them.


Artists can, and do, sell copyright.

I think a free-ride scolarship for each participating child to the university of their (qualifying) choice should just about cover it.

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