Looks like they’re not out of the woods yet on the slick pop songs they stole for those sleazy shows of theirs…
Three weeks after the first judge gave them a final order to pay — and two weeks after we urged them not to, pointing out that the BUSD has an express policy that demands employee sensitivity and compliance with all copyrights — Tresona decided to appeal.
So was the original judge correct? Do school employees have qualified immunity in copyright infringement cases, and can they then claim a reasonable belief that “fair use” covers copyrighted materials in a school setting?
We shall see. The District’s own board policies — and the informational materials they distribute each year to their teaching employees — suggest otherwise. Burbank teachers already know that copyrights must be respected and that fair use rarely if ever applies to the commercial materials they utilize on or off campus.
There’s a good summary of the case here.
The problem with the judge’s decision is that it would allow any public school teacher to get out of honoring an artist’s copyright simply because they could claim a) qualified immunity as a public employee; and then b), that their omission was perfectly reasonable given that they thought school use fell under the fair use exception to infringement.
If so, when could a copyright holder or licensee ever assert ownership rights in a school setting? The schools and teachers could always get out of it merely by pleading “reasonable” ignorance.
But, as we’ve already shown in Burbank, they definitely know better.