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The Rights and Lefts of our "Open System" Curriculum
      The natural question that arises from the "open system" concept is, "Who has the rights to the material that is being produced and distributed?" In other words, what can those who are using the curriculum at their congregations actually do, or not do, with the material. The simple answer to the question is that they can do with the material anything that they would do with material that they purchase from any publisher. Think about it like this: The curriculum on our site is just like a huge file-folder of material. We, at Apologetics Press, own the rights to that folder and can give it away or sell it to whomever we choose. We are giving the material (2 years-4th grade) to any congregation that wants it free of charge. That means that we still have the rights to the material, but the congregation can now use it exactly as they would use any curriculum they purchased. Thus, a congregation using the curriculum can print off as many copies of anything in that material they need for their congregation. What a person or congregation cannot do is to take the curriculum (or its parts) and sell it or distribute it to other congregations. Of course, there would be no need for this to happen, since all any congregation needs to do to use it is to get the curriculum free from A.P.'s Web site.

      That brings us to a discussion of the content that is submitted by congregations and individuals for inclusion in the curriculum. First, the content will need to be original material that is not copyrighted somewhere else. That means that if artwork for an activity is submitted, it cannot be artwork that was downloaded from the Internet or taken from an art CD. It will need to be original artwork done by a person in the congregation specifically for the curriculum. In the same way, textual submissions cannot come from a previously published book or article. They will need to be materials that are original with the person sending them, done specifically for the curriculum. For instance, suppose the curriculum needs an activity about Moses. If a person from a congregation draws a picture of Moses and a basket, and sends the picture in to the curriculum Web site with a caption written by the person, that will be acceptable. What is not legal is for that person to go to the Internet, copy a picture, and paste a caption that is out there under another picture.

      Second, we at Apologetics Press must be given rights to use any original material that is submitted. For instance, if a person submits a picture of Moses, he/she will need to provide a statement granting A.P. the right to use the picture in the curriculum. Understand that this does not mean the originator grants A.P. exclusive rights to the product. By that we mean that the person can use the drawing for anything else he/she wants to use it for. The rights granted to A.P. are simply rights to use the artwork or text. The artist does not relinquish ownership rights of the material. It may be that at some time in the future, we decide to print the material and make it for sale; we would need rights to the material for that to happen (though we don't envision that being the case). If the "open system" works the way it is intended to work, the curriculum will be available for free as long as we have the resources available to maintain the Web site, incorporate changes, etc.

      Thus, the "cost" of the AP curriculum (2 years old to 4th grade) to a church is simply the right to use any material that is generated for the curriculum by a member of a congregation using it. In essence, we are trading the curriculum to the Church, as a whole, for the rights to use original content generated to make the curriculum better. As you can see, the only way this "trade" will work is if the brotherhood sees the benefit of the "open system" and has talented, creative church workers who want to see the curriculum improve for the sake of the spiritual growth of the entire church.