COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri professors’ course outlines are legally protected under federal copyright law, a lawyer for the four-campus system argued Monday as the schools fight against public release of records related to teacher training.
The National Council on Teacher Quality is trying to force the university, citing the state’s open records law, to release copies of course syllabuses as part of its nationwide effort to monitor what aspiring teachers learn in college. The Washington-based education advocacy group plans to publish the results next year in a joint study with U.S. News & World Report, rating schools with letter grades from A to F.
The council, which filed a lawsuit in October, wanted an immediate ruling during Monday’s hearing, but Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane refused. He told both sides to exchange pre-trial information and return at a later date.
University attorney Paul Maguffee told the judge that federal copyright law “includes the right to control distribution.” But the council’s attorney said that argument has been rejected in dozens of other cases where state universities initially objected to disclosing such records.
“The sole question in this case is whether the records are protected from disclosure by (state) law,” said Chesterfield-based attorney Mary Schultz, who represents the council.