Re: Bradfield Yearbook

You have read Dr. McNutt’s e-mail. Now I have the e-mail that The Volunteer sent out to the Bradfield room moms with a request for them to forward to all families. Still don’t understand why it was necessary to get a copyright. If she didn’t want to redo it, couldn’t she just hand it over for someone else to fix? Maybe I’m missing something.

Dear Bradfield Families:

I am so sorry to say that the yearbook that I spent countless hours on will not be distributed to you.  As the book was about to go to print, I was informed that the adorable candid pictures on the classroom pages were not allowed, unless every child from the class was in the picture.  Thus, destroying the integrity of the whole design that I have been working on since last summer.  My options were to either start all over or leave big holes in those pages—both options above and beyond what should ever be asked of a volunteer.

I certainly would not have created a design in the first place, if I could have foreseen issues—but there were no guidelines given to me on this at all.  

Then, I had very few people submit candid photos and I sent out a slew of photo requests.  I even made numerous phone calls and took many photos myself.  Bottom line, I used almost every single photo that was usable/available, somewhere in the yearbook.  

Due to the number of candids available, I decided to make the school portraits larger—leaving only a small space for candids.  Neverthless, the candids included on the class pages are what makes the yearbook so endearing.  I truly put together the best product possible, with what I had to work with.

I’m baffled that the slim possibility of offending someone, especially when they were given numerous opportunities to participate, outweighs hurting those of us that work so hard for the school and our children.

Needless to say, Yearbook Chair is a huge job for one person—and it was ONE PERSON.  But those of you that know me, know that I take on projects whole-heartedly.  I spent at least 20 hours creating the plaid background and at least 80 hours creating all of the Bronco characters.  I’ve never spent so much time on a project in my life, and I would at least like to share it with those that were meant to enjoy.  I’m very proud of it and very sad that it will not come home in your child’s backpack.

*The PTA is scrambling to throw something together, so that they don’t have to refund the families, which will cost them $18,000.  I would like to state that I do not have anything to do with this, even though I was stated previously as Yearbook Chair 2009-2010.

By Merritt Patterson May. 4, 2010 | 5:35 pm | 42 Comments | Comments RSS
42 comments to "Re: Bradfield Yearbook"
  1. N.F @ May 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm
    The copyright and patent lawyers would have to unravel all of this, but I doubt seriously that a “volunteer” can “copyright” material that does not belong to her, especially images of children for which she does not have parental releases specifically giving her permission to publish or otherwise use the images.

    Even as a volunteer, she’s still an agent for others.

  2. Kmom @ May 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm
    Wow, I feel so very sorry for her kids. She’s done a great disservice to all the kids and families of Bradfield, especially her own. Nobody cares about the “integrity of the whole design” or snazzy plaid or broncos. She should have spent 100 hours making sure she had a candid of each kid – it’s not the “slim possibility of offending someone”, it’s the reality of excluding 5 to 9 year old kids that outweighs her egomaniacal design sensibility.

  3. No Drama Mamma @ May 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm
    There’s surely more to this than meets the eye. And so far, the principal has gotten in the last word.

    Reading Volunteer Mom’s and the principal’s emails together, it sounds like this mom worked hard on the yearbook and at the last minute, the principal ordered her to majorly revamp it. Whether the mom had other options at that point remains unclear — but she did have pride of ownership — and handing it over to the principal’s PTA groupies to “fix” it was probably not an appealing one, if it was indeed offered.

    I don’t know her, but from what I’ve heard, she sounds rational and normal. It would be nice to hear her side of the story.

    In any event, this is an example of why I, and a lot of other moms I know, keep our heads down and try to fly under the radar. In my volunteering experience at the school we attend, good deeds rarely go unpunished.

  4. TG @ May 4, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    It’s clear that one reason the Volunteer is so emotionally invested is the amount of time invested… which could have been avoided by allowing someone with the most rudimentary knowledge of graphic design and the most basic software handle the project. There is no legitimate reason for the horse characters and plaid backgrounds to have taken 100+ hours.

  5. patentlawya @ May 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm
    Well, actually, the volunteer is correct. She is not an employee, and absent any written agreement, her work on the yearbook is not a “work for hire” under the Copyright Statute. Bottom line: if no written agreement, then the photographer / editor owns the copyrights. The volunteer is also not required to register any copyrights. Copyrights exist from the moment that she creates the photographs or arrangements (i.e., fixes them in a tangible medium). As far as ownership of pictures of the children, those copyrights are owned by the photographer, not the children or their parents. Same deal with wedding photographers – they own the copyrights and the negatives. A release would arguably only be needed if the likeness was used for some sort of commercial gain (e.g., a right of publicity). Inclusion in a not-for-profit-yearbook sure doesn’t seem to pass that test. So as far as the law is concerned, the yearbook voluneteer was correct. She is entitled to copyrights. The Bradfield PTA was correct to back off on this issue.

    I’ll let the rest of the commenters sort out the remainder of this tangled web.

  6. Kersten Rettig @ May 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm
    Jeezum Pete! I guess it’s about time Bradfield had a scandal. I’m just glad it has nothing to do with boobs, brawling or jazz hands.

  7. Matt @ May 4, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    Now, now, patentlawya. “Volunteer” has been clear that she didn’t personally take all the candids, and I doubt she took any of the school portraits. So while she certainly has a copyright in her compilation and original works, the PDF she’s now distributing is almost certainly infringing someone else’s copyrights. If she wants to make it ugly, it could be very ugly for her.

  8. justwondering @ May 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm
    Right on, Matt! The volunteer doesn’t have an outright copyright and very well could be infringing on other people’s copyrights, unless she took all the photos. And I wonder if the school could assert an implied-in-conduct exclusive license to the yearbook based on the volunteer conduct and the manner in which it was “commissioned.” As a practical matter, I understand why the school just backed off though. Copyright cases are notoriously fuzzy.

  9. Sharpay @ May 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm
    Maybe the copyright is legal, but why would you do that in this situation, especially when there was never any remuneration involved? At some point, she should have swallowed her pride and either: (a) added some candids or (b) allowed others to add the candids to the design.

  10. Special K @ May 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm
    I, for one, would not try to copyright anything that I had used Comic Sans on. IJS.

  11. MIS Mom @ May 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    I will say one thing. Had a “volunteer” put a copyright on my child’s picture and published it on the internet, all you know what would break loose. She has no right to publish any pictures of any child that is not her own. She can wah wah all she wants that she did not know the scope of the project, but coming from someone who has done this before, guidelines are strongly given and she was given ample opportunity to change things and was offered help. Don’t believe everything you read!!!

  12. Special K @ May 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm
    All I had to do was Google Bradfield Elementary Yearbook and I found where Ms. Reeves had published the yearbook online, which includes names, grades and pictures of each Bradfield kid. Moronic move if you ask me.

  13. Remove the yearbook from the internet. Now! @ May 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm
    The year book needs to be removed from the internet. Or at least password protected. My kids are in that book and I don’t appreciate the fact that some fruit cake can look up my kids in the year book, find our address online and then approach my kids with specific details about their teachers or classmates. Use your brain people. Seriously. I am sad that this happened to this volunteer and I am sorry for the countless hours of work she put into this project. I received tons of emails asking for pictures. She must have not received many. I never gave permission to publish pictures of my children or permission for her to copyright any picture I submitted. I would not care but she is putting it out there for everyone to see. I am certain that she is hurt and angry, but that does not give her the right to put it online. Period. I wish some last minute tweaking could have happened to satisfy all the parties involved. It is a super cute book and I am sure the kids that were included would have loved it.

  14. Cynic @ May 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm
    Wow. Such venom. Well I’ve got a free yearbook, anyway.

    Gheesh. Glad I’m not roving around these posters’ target ranges. It’s “shoot first, ask questions later” around here.

  15. Everyone needs a candid....really? @ May 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm
    I remember a few years where there was not a picture of me in my yearbook except for my school portrait plus any ‘club’ pictures. I am doing o.k. after many years of counseling. :-) Seriously….do we really need to be worried that some kids won’t have a candid picture? How are these children going to survive in the real world?

  16. matt @ May 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm
    Every kid gets a candid? What kind of terrible lesson is that? That’s like those soccer leagues that don’t keep score. Listen kids, lower-case matt is here for you. One of the major accolades one can have in high school is to have their name appear in the index with 5+ page numbers next to it. You don’t want to be that kid with just “192″ (the portrait) next to his/her name. That kid might be the next Bill Gates, but you can be damn sure he’ll need two hands to negotiate a brassiere hook should that occasion arise before he’s 32.

    This could have been a valuable lesson, not everyone is a 5+ page kind of kid. Better to learn early as it only gets worse from here. For the losers that is.

  17. Remove the yearbook from the internet. Now! @ May 5, 2010 at 12:00 am
    If you want your child in the yearbook…submit pictures. It is that simple. I am just annoyed that it is on the internet without any type of password protection or name deletions.

  18. BroncoParent @ May 5, 2010 at 6:43 am
    Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me at all. The Bradfield PTA prez (TKoz) should have been providing some diplomatic leadership on this problem. My experience with her is she never returns a phone call or email, avoids conflict at all costs, and doesn’t have the confidence to have avoided this entire mess. Thus, it gets dumped into McNutt’s lap at the last minute. SEvans would have been managing this issue months ago. No wonder I’m considering Hockaday…………..

  19. Gagree @ May 5, 2010 at 8:57 am
    BroncoParent, you’re considering Hockaday b/c you have issues with the PTA? Good God.

  20. bc @ May 5, 2010 at 10:21 am
    @lowercase matt-

    What about the 5+’ers that are all dork clubs – that doesn’t count, right? If Football is a 5 and Math League is a 1, then I figure you’d have to score at least a 12 when you multiply the number of pages outside the default class pic by the quality of each posting to be considered “at or above average coolness.” I’d have to see each club offered at the school and the quality of the members to effectively rank the clubs, but I think the formula will work… I mean, you don’t have to be the VP of Mu Alpha Theta to know that quantity AND quality will establish your place in yearbook hierarchy.

    Oh, and kids, Glee Club is still a 1 unless there’s some make-believe one out there full of jocks and cheerleaders. False hope, FOX, false hope.

  21. expat @ May 5, 2010 at 10:28 am
    @Special K – thanks for a much needed laugh this morning. I wholeheartedly agree – Comic Sans????

  22. James Tucker @ May 5, 2010 at 11:14 am
    Maybe it is time to stop treating our elementary kids like they are in high school. Didn’t Bradfield also have some kind of dance or prom this year? My kids loved their yearbooks, but maybe the old fashioned class picture which would come with their individual school pics should be enough.

  23. Sue Ann Reeves @ May 5, 2010 at 11:16 am
    I AM the “volunteer”. This is a project that I initially turned down due to a new baby, building a house and numerous other commitments that were already on my plate. I have always done a HUGE amount of volunteer work at Bradfield, especially anything graphic oriented. Thus, I was begged to take on this project. The last week of March, Dr. McNutt threw me this curve ball, and those of you that have volunteered at Bradfield have experienced many of them. She runs that office like a communist state basically. You are constantly being put through the ringer trying to raise money and make the school a better place. I am now at Hyer, too…and it’s an unbelievable difference. DO WE WANT OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS RUN LIKE THIS!!! This was really the straw that broke the camels back for a lot of parents that are hearing about this. Her e-mail was complete bull, and she is trying to simply do damage control. E-mail and blogs like this are her worst nightmare.

    As for my claim to copyrights, it is on the intricate design that I put together. If you are not a designer or a creative type, it’s not a concept that you can fully understand. To have someone else go in and tinker with my project would be like cutting a big square out of a piece of art and asking them to still sign it. She wanted to delete the candids, which would have destroyed the integrity of the whole book. I am a designer, not a photographer. It was on the parents to submit photos and I used almost every photo submitted. It’s too much to ask the yearbook chair to be photographer as well as layout and taking orders!

    The majority of the parents are outraged. I have had 60+ e-mails from people supporting the original yearbook. In addition, there is an online petition with 50+ DIFFERENT signatures. Not to mention, my phone has rang off the wall. The parents all want my design and want to know how they can get it.

    The real thing to understand, though, is this nonsense from the office never ends. She claims that the no alcohol written in any school materials is a “district” policy. Well, guess what—Hyer sends their Auction Program out in the kid’s backpacks. It advertises the Wine Pull and many other items containing alcoholic beverages. Dr. McNutt took a big marker to a sign I made at Bradfield because one of the Raffle Items was a “cocktail” ring. Good grief! Auction chairs, PTA President and their freaking husbands spent a whole weekend before this year’s auction delivering programs to doorsteps, because they weren’t “approved” to go out in the folders. Last year, the chair was handing them out of the back of her SUV “across the street” from the school. And mind you, all of this is to raise money for them.

    The most offensive thing that I’ve heard lately: A Bradfield grandmother, formerly a PTA President at McCullough years ago, was told that she could not sub for cafeteria duty until she had a criminal background check. She was asked to take the place of a new mother with a sick infant at home and was turned away when she tried to sign in at the office.

    We all SO value our community and how special it is for US and especially for our kids. Do we want our mother volunteers treated like this. I say no…but it looks like the Queen has spoken.

  24. Matt @ May 5, 2010 at 11:40 am
    Dearest Sue Ann, your mistake is thinking that it’s your project. You’re a volunteer for a school publication. Yeah, I do some non-profit creative work, and I work with many other volunteers, and they all understand that if they volunteer to produce something, what they produce may be altered or edited to further the goals of the organization. They all understand that, because they’re supporting the organization, not on a private ego trip.

  25. Callie @ May 5, 2010 at 11:43 am
    I saw the yearbook and thought it was adorable! I know there are reasons behind certain things (like background checks), but I don’t see any reason to eliminate candids just because they don’t include everyone. That’s what makes them “candids”. Every child’s picture is in the yearbook (the portrait), and that is appropriate. If you didn’t send in candids including your own child, then I don’t think there is any room for complaint.

    Do other elementaries have the same policy? All students must be represented in candids in the yearbook?

  26. Bradfield CONGRESS @ May 5, 2010 at 11:47 am
    That office is ridiculous alright!!! Nothing goes through their hands without being completely mutilated! Freakin’ Amy pulls out her pencil, then sends you off to run around like a chicken with their head cut off. They fight you every step of the way—meanwhile you are trying to MAKE MONEY FOR THEM!!! This is why the Bradfield Auction raised $100,000 (which they were proud of) and Hyer raised $250,000. Go figure.

  27. Sue Ann Reeves @ May 5, 2010 at 11:49 am
    THE BLOG BLEEPED OUT A WORD, GUESS IT COULD BE A BAD WORD. ANYWAY, THE RING IN QUESTION ENDED UP BEING CALLED A DINNER RING. THE ORIGINAL WORD WAS A WORD THAT MEANT ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE.

  28. LM @ May 5, 2010 at 11:52 am
    I am not a Bradfield mom. I went to the volunteer’s petition and looked at the yearbook via the web address that she posted. (Lady, you need to take that down–you are breaching confidentiality which could get you into hotter water than you are in now.)

    Your design is very cute. But regardless of your good intentions, rules. must. be. followed. Just because someone else breaks the rules, doesn’t mean you can, too. Honestly, I think your design is better than the old collages that had unflattering tiny headshots of some of the kids. And I think the teachers would easily assist with candids. Aren’t they taking pictures all the time these days?

    My kids are in high school and middle school now. If I threw away their elementary yearbooks, they wouldn’t miss them. Yearbooks are for our generation. They’ll always have facebook or something like it to remember each other.

  29. Sue Ann Reeves @ May 5, 2010 at 11:52 am
    MATT, if you read the original letter you would know that I wasn’t given any guidelines in the beginning. To redo it the last week of March would have meant starting all over from scratch OR having big blank spaces on the page. I was asked to do this project, because I always do a nice job. I cannot produce something that has been mutilated. I am not the one on a power trip here!!!

  30. LM @ May 5, 2010 at 11:54 am
    Sue Ann, we all know that cock gets censored. NO NEED TO SCREAM ABOUT IT!

  31. Kersten Rettig @ May 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm
    My kids are no longer at Bradfield so I have no first hand knowledge of this incident, but I co-chaired the auction several years ago and have nothing but praise for Amy, Jeannie and the Bradfield staff. Yes, they are strict about the materials distributed. I also did the auction book that year which was a total PITA to get that thing approved and in the style that passed Dr. McNutt’s muster. But she’s the principal and it’s her perrogative. I feel badly for the time, energy and effort that Sue Ann put into this book. I’m sure it’s awesome. But this is when I recommend paying a professional to do a project because then you have a contractual relationship to complete the propject on time and to the client’s specifications. A business relationship is a whole lot easier to manage than volunteer relationship. Especially for women. Especially for PTA. Especially for Bradfield.

  32. Avid Reader @ May 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    “Wasn’t given any guidelines in the beginning”…ummmm….How hard would it have been to look at the previous 50+ books for an idea? That would just be silly.

  33. Sue Ann Reeves @ May 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm
    As requested, the yearbook is now password protected. You can contact me for the password if you are a Bradfield family. I apologize for any concern that I caused. I only sent the link to my Bradfield friends. I didn’t know this would end up on a BLOG!

    If you are a Bradfield family, you can contact me from the directory. Of course, you won’t have my e-mail necessarily because that is the office’s worst nightmare. Now I see why they are so protective over those.

  34. A.B. @ May 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    SAR–There is this thing called the internet. When you sneeze the entire world can say achoo. To not even think that an email would be forwarded is incredibly naive. Once you hit ‘send’ it is no longer in your hands.

  35. Avid Reader @ May 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    The online petition seems to only have 12 signatures….http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bradfieldyearbook/signatures…unless there is some other double secret petition, “50+ signatures” might be a little bit of a stretch, I’m no math major, I just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. IJS.

  36. LM @ May 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    Sue Ann, you seem like a really sincere person. And I am not trying to poke fun at you, but seriously, you must know by know that internet postings, including cellphone images, can be forwarded around the world starting with just one click. Please get informed about all of this before your children get to middle school.

  37. internetarchives? @ May 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm
    And my advisor tells me that wait 6 months, then go to the Wayback Machine…yes, it exists, type in the yearbook posted page from the first day it was put up, and guess what? you get it without any password. Remember – it never goes away…..
    I’m so sorry this happened to all parties involved. I for one agree with the district policy of no alcohol – it’s a very serious matter and you will understand when you have teenagers.
    As for the grandma at cafeteria – all she needed was her drivers license – it’s really easy to be scanned into the Raptor system.
    Remember… it never goes away….

  38. A.B. @ May 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    How long do you think before the password is posted to the blog?

  39. Joanna England @ May 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    We always appreciate a lively discussion of the facts, but because no one seems to be adding anything new to this thread other than personal attacks, and we’re seeing multiple names linked to the same IP address, such as Sue Ann Reeves and Bradfield CONGRESS, we’re going to close the comments.

  40. [...] requested a copy of the letter sent last week to Sue Ann Reeves (the Bradfield Elementary yearbook volunteer) by attorney William Banosky on behalf of HPISD. May 5, [...]

  41. [...] after, an email surfaced that apparently was the catalyst for the whole mess—one sent by the PTA mom who had agreed to organize the yearbook, was upset about how [...]

  42. [...] hours spent by salaried employees, HPISD has incurred $8,250 in attorney fees dealing with the Bradfield yearbook matter. Helen Williams said that approximately $2,500 of the legal bill was for “reviewing the new book [...]