Monday, March 24, 2014

"Common Core" Licensing and Trademark

There has been a bit of hubub recently over the licensing of the Common Core Standards, and how it might be used to enforce "alignment." Here's my quick "I'm not a lawyer" analysis.

According to their "public license," which grants "a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative." So this means that theoretically there is some range of uses with is neither fair use, nor allowed by the license. In practice, this is a thin, unimportant slice, since most uses are likely to be educational and would not affect the "market" for the standards themselves.

The real question is whether the NGA and CCSSO hold any trademarks associated with "Common Core." What would stop someone from calling their product "Common Core Aligned" is trademark law. I can't stamp "Microsoft Certified" on whatever I want not because of Microsoft's copyrights, but because of its trademarks. Nothing on the Common Core Standards site indicates that they hold any trademarks, while the other Common Core (the curriculum) clearly does assert a trademark on the phrase. Nor does anything show up from NGA and CCSSO show up on a naive trademark search.

Presumably they could pursue a certification mark at some point. That would at least give them control over a specific "Common Core Aligned" or maybe "CCSSI Aligned" logo.


garrett said...

Do you think it is within the scope of legality to establish a Common Cuddlecore Standards curriculum? I believe that the modes of production, values expressed, and cultural learning from cuddlecore bands such as Crayon, Cub and, Tender Trap are for more important than most of the bullshit taught in your average Amarikan classroom.

Tom Hoffman said...

It is not only within the scope of legality, it is within the scope of necessity!

garrett said...

Oh dear Tom, I wish I could be more helpful toward that necessity. I got a ball of worms going on at the job right now, and I force myself to drag the achin bones to band practice on the weekends. Shooting for a gig at one of the Farmers Markets this summer is taking more planning and logistics than I thought. Our first single is available on the web. Would be "beyond my dreams" to be picked up by K, Kill Rock Stars, Shrimper, or Blackbean and Placenta, but that would involve copywright and legalese, and fuck, I'm like Coltrane, I just want to feel a contact heroin high, and blow Gabriel blow.