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Work ethical dilemma

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I not only teach a specific curriculum, and have for years, about 6 months ago I got the chance to start writing for the next edition of it.


Well, we got the licensing fee e-mail today. In order to be licensed to teach this curriculum, fees will more than double next year in order. The reason given is that they're going to give online-only access to the new edition of the curriculum-the one I'm currently writing-free. Except that it isn't free. The only way to pay what someone would have had to pay for this year is to accept that you won't have access to the new version, and to use only the older version, print manuals and materials. My guess is that as soon as the new version is completely online, within a couple of years, that this option will vanish.


I honestly am not sure that I can be ethically involved with a company that does this anymore. I'm proud of what I've done, and curriculum development is basically my dream job. But I feel like they're taking real advantage of the people who have taught this curriculum for years, and I suspect that many people who have, in the past, effectively taught these programs as a donation or service to their communities, making little or no money after expenses (and probably not enough to pay for their time compared to other jobs) will end up dropping the program entirely.


I also am in kind of a dilemma myself-because I could qualify for a less expensive license tier since I teach as part of a University school of music. But if I do so, I will lose the right to teach any outside classes-which would mean I could no longer teach a class for our homeschool co-op where the parents only have to pay for materials, or for our church's ministry. I'm not sure I can afford to pay the business level licensing fees so I can donate my time-but ethically, since I've put a lot of MY ideas and lesson plans into the product, I suspect I'd be infringing on their copyright to teach lessons I WROTE outside that license agreement!

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