I was sorry to read of Michael Rissi's current plight with USC's School of Cinema-Television. It doesn't, however, surprise me.
As I understand it, after I left the cinema school and took "Dark Star" with me, USC instituted a policy of complete and total ownership of all films made there.
I really don't understand how anyone can take Rissi's script away from him and give it to someone else to direct. USC is a school , not a studio. Although this sort of behavior is good training for the real world of Hollywood, I fail to see any circumstances that would excuse this exploitation of talent by a university.
There is no art school in the world that would claim ownership of students' paintings simply because they provided the canvas and paints. There is no art school in the world that would take a student's idea sketch and give it to another artist to paint.
Perhaps USC Cinema doesn't pretend to be an art school. Maybe, instead, it's simply a trade school. So be it--but they still have no right to assign a student's script to someone else.