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January 2019
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Another State Lawmaker Thinks Teachers Should Be Banned From Discussing 'Controversial' Issues

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Having gotten it into his head that teachers are "indoctrinating" the mushy minds of school students, an Arizona lawmaker has introduced a bill almost certainly headed for a Constitutional challenge.

State Rep. Mark Finchem wants to ban public and charter school teachers from spreading “controversial” political, racial and religious messages in their classrooms.

The Oro Valley Republican introduced House Bill 2002 in the Legislature last week. If it passes, teachers could face consequences as severe as losing their jobs for engaging in any “political, ideological or religious” advocacy or discussion with their students.

The bill [PDF] introduces, among other things, a requirement for teachers to attend three hours of annual "ethics training" and adopt a strict "ethics code" that prevents them from talking about a long list of things Rep. Finchem finds "controversial." The list begins with blocking teachers from advocating for political parties, candidates, and legislation, which already makes part of the bill redundant.

State law already bars public and charter school employees from using school resources, including personnel, to influence the outcome of an election.

But that's only part of the list of forbidden subjects. The bill also forbids teachers from:

Discussing any litigation making its way through the nation's courts.

Introducing "controversial issues" not related to the course being taught

Endorsing any activity that "hampers or impedes lawful access of military recruiters to the campus"

Endorsing or engaging in any activity that "hampers or impedes the actions" of law enforcement

"Singling out" one racial group as "being responsible" for the suffering of another race

It also introduces some weird form of "Fairness Doctrine" by demanding teachers provide resources supporting both sides of any controversial subject that somehow makes it way past Rep. Finchem's speech barrier. These multiple incursions on the First Amendment are followed by dubious "findings" Finchem wants to have codified as legislative facts.

A. The legislature finds and declares that:

1. The purpose of public education in Arizona is to produce knowledgeable and competent adults who are able to participate as informed citizens in the democratic process of selecting representation in our constitutional republic.

2. Education in a democracy is best served by teaching students how to think, not telling them what to think. Our country is divided over many issues affecting its citizens. It has been established through surveys that a majority of K-12 teachers discuss controversial issues in their classrooms.

3. It has been established that some teacher training institutions, teacher licensing agencies, state education departments and professional teacher organizations have condoned and even encouraged this behavior under the guise of "teaching for social justice" and other sectarian doctrines. Time spent on political or ideological indoctrination takes time away from instruction in the academic subjects taught by public educational institutions, including the foundational subjects of mathematics, science, English, history and civics, and prevents students from receiving the best possible public education as funded by the taxpayers of this state.

4. Parents and taxpayers have a right to expect that taxpayer resources will be spent on education, not political or ideological indoctrination.

Perhaps Mark Finchem will allow these many surveys supporting his indoctrination theory to be read into the state record along with the rest of his bullshit bill. Finchem claims a "stunning number" of calls from concerned parents has prompted this action, rather than the organized #RedForEd educator walkout that accompanied educators' demands for increased funding.

There's no chance this bill survives a Constitutional challenge if it somehow becomes law. Restrictions on speech -- even that of government employees -- demands a narrow crafting. Targeting speech with legislation requires a sniper's mentality. Finchem is carrying a shotgun loaded with birdshot and hoping it's enough to prevent speech he doesn't like from being spoken in the state's classrooms.

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Everybody Loses After Metal Band And Photographer Get Pissy Over Photographer's Copyright Threat

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In many, if not most, of the copyright disputes we cover here, the stance we take is not typically a purely legal one. Often times, we make mention that one party or another is legally allowed to take the actions it has, but we note that those protectionist actions aren't the most optimal course to have taken. Perhaps the best example of this can be found in a dispute that arose between metal band Arch Enemy and a photographer it had allowed to take concert photos for them.The backstory here goes like this. Arch Enemy has worked with J. Salmeron, a photographer and attorney, to take photos of the band's concerts. Salmeron then posted those photos to his Instagram account, after which they were reposted both by the band's fans and members of the band themselves. All of that was done without issue. One of the band's merchandise partners, however, used one of the photos of the lead singer to promote the band's merchandise on social media accounts. Finding out about this, Salmeron contacted the company and asked for a 100 euro "licensing fee" in the form of a payment to his choice of charity.

At this point, the issue could have been resolved without any fuss, but things quickly got out of hand. Thunderball Clothing wasn’t planning to pay and reached out to the band, accusing the photographer of making threats. The band and the singer sided with the clothing company and sponsor, arguing that a payment is not required. Apparently, the band’s management is under the impression that the band, fans, and sponsors can use the work of photographers free of charge. In return, they get exposure.“I would like to ask why you are sending discontent emails to people sharing the photo of Alissa? Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her. Thunderball Clothing is a sponsor of Alissa and Arch Enemy,” they replied. “Generally speaking, photographers appreciate having their work shown as much as possible and we are thankful for the great photos concert photographers provide,” the band’s management added.
Now, much of that is true. Photographers do get exposure through channels like this. Exposure for their work generally and, in the music space, exposure to other musical acts to use their services. On the other hand, it really isn't up to the band whether or not to authorize their partners' use of these photographs which are, unless otherwise stated in a contract somewhere, covered by copyright for the photographer. It also is the case that Salmeron's request wasn't exactly unreasonable in terms of the amount or the recipient. This, in other words, is pretty tame stuff in the world of copyright infringement. So... both sides of this equation have valid stances. And, one would imagine, something should have been easily worked out given that.Unfortunately, it seems every side decided to go full nuclear.
After some messages back and forth, the photo was eventually removed, but the band also made it very clear that Salmeron is no longer welcome at any future gigs.“By the way, we are sure you don’t mind that you are not welcome anymore to take pictures of Arch Enemy performances in the future, at festivals or solo performances,” the reply read. “I have copied in the label reps and booking agent who will inform promoters – no band wants to have photographers on site who later send such threatening correspondence to monetize on their images.”
And then the responses from many of the band's fans, many of whom do photography work, was to hurl snark at the band and suggest that its stance on copyright for the photographer be applied to the band's work as well. A whole bunch of people tweeted at the band, suggesting that instead of buying their latest album, they would just download it and that the band should consider that free exposure for themselves. Now, that analogy doesn't really hold, of course, but the point is clear.And so basically everyone loses here. The band has pissed fans. The photographer isn't on the Arch Enemy beat any longer. The merch company had to take the photo down. And, again, all this over 100 euro? Come on.

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