Friends, we are sure that you are familiar with the wonderful website ‘Teachers Pay Teachers’. We here at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute are big fans of teachers offering to share their skills and creativity to a broader audience, and making some well-deserved money along the way. That being said, we have encountered a situation that we would like to bring to your attention.
Recently, we received word from a teacher that some of the resources being sold for a profit on Teachers Pay Teachers looked awfully familiar. Upon further investigation, it has come to our attention that there are a number of teachers selling free FJCC/LFI curricular materials (lesson plans, worksheets, and assessment items, among others) on Teachers Pay Teachers. We are currently evaluating the magnitude of the issue, but we know enough to be certain that it is not isolated. In this context, it is important for us to underscore the fact that although our instructional materials bear a Lou Frey Institute copyright, it is actually the University of Central Florida that ultimately owns the intellectual property. This means that we have an ethical and legal responsibility to notify the University General Counsel’s office that our materials are being offered on “Teachers pay Teachers”. Once that is done, it will create a potential liability ranging from minor to not so minor for the teachers whose names are associated with the sale of copyrighted materials. We would note as well that a not-insignificant number of teachers are selling iCivics curricular materials as their own on Teachers Pay Teachers. The folks at iCivics, who work so hard to create quality resources as well, are likely to share our own concerns about this issue.
We would ask those teachers who have posted these resources for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers or other similiar sites withdraw these from the market immediately, before we find it necessary to involve UCF General Counsel and file an infringement notice with Teachers Pay Teachers. We would suggest the same for those folks posting iCivics resources. After April 15, we will be moving to involve UCF General Counsel on this, a step we are reluctant to take. However, we feel as though we have little choice.
The Institute goes to great – and sometimes painful – lengths to produce the funding that permits and sustains the distribution of free instructional materials for Florida teachers. Although the path is different, we know that iCivics does as well. If we find that we cannot control the resale market, we fear that we will have no option but to reluctantly reconsider how we approach the ways in which we provide instructional support materials. We hope to avoid this, as it would impact teachers and students across the state.
We hate that we have had to write this post and make this request, but we feel it is necessary. Our resources are intended to be freely available, and we would like to continue on that path. Thank you so much for your help on this.