Friday, September 16, 2005

SMC's Recent Document Dump

Again, SMC feigned compliance with the California Public Records Act by providing us yesterday with a huge document dump which is non-responsive to our requests. I will not go into details at this time, but will cover this more fully in a future post. Additionally, SMC blackened out information which is vital to the public's right to know the truth of where our money is being spent and by whom. Yes, we have received a large amount of papers yesterday (about the size of the recent lawsuit we served against them to compel production), but quantity is not quality.

SMC is missing contracts, including the current contract between, Inc. and Santa Monica College (I'm sure the stockholders of eCollege will be interested to find this out!) and is unable to provide itemized expenditures for a lot of the contracts which were provided. Where's the receipts for the money they spent? Where's the proof of copyrights to materials they are alleging they own? They claim to neither have nor need any proof. Curiously, having made such a thorough job of erasing my existence as a teaching assistant to Professor Jim Keeshen, they now have no paperwork, including emails, documenting my role. Thank God we had documented it!

Once again, Katharine Muller, Dean of External Affairs who oversees the Academy of Entertainment & Technology has her hands in a lot of things as is evident in her numerous email correspondence and signatures. One wonders if she is in fact overseeing compliance with the CPRA or commandeering SMC's non-compliance. Why did she demand, through her attorney Joshua Morrison, that I turn over all my work to her in the History of Animation within 7 days, yet the school does not have proof of copyright ownership of this work? Why are Professor Keeshen's rights to his work also being voraciously consumed by the school when his distance education faculty compensation plan (which they have conveniently failed to provide) states that he owns the rights to his coursework?

In any art school, such as the Academy, intellectual property ownership is crucial. When the school attempts to rob both the faculty and staff of the fruits of their labors, what is left? The school alleges that my work is a work-for-hire, but did I not pay the school to attend its program rather than the school paying me? Are the administrators, by this standard, my employees rather than my employers? Since Professor Jeannie Novak wrote a book for her Academy Course in Game Development (ET42) and uses it in the course and offers it for sale in the Academy's bookstore, should she now be forced to sacrifice her intellectual property rights and turn over her copyrights to the book to Dean Muller and SMC? I don't think so and I'm sure Professor Novak would agree with me. Should the work done by Professor Jim Keeshen and myself be any different? Regardless, the school has no documentation showing transfer of copyright, assignment of rights, a written work-for-hire agreement, or copyright registration or ownership. Absent such documentation, this is just pure attempted theft on the part of the school. Thank God we have laws to protect us.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of paper provided to us (guess they forgot to remove it) is an email from Lee Peterson to (who else) Katharine Muller, dated September 1, 2005 entitled "suggested text for inclusion in response to Des." Mr. Peterson writes in part, "I worked up some text that might be useful in responding to Des. .... Use the text -- or not! -- in any way you like. I think Des' underlying questions are 'Who's in charge here, and who does what?'."

Worked up some text that might be useful...??? That sounds a bit suspicious. Hmmm... Yes, it would be nice to know who's in charge of our money at the school and who does what with it! But again, the District is not acknowledging our right to inspection of these records. As time goes on, it is becoming increasingly obvious why.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2005: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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