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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Publisher Claims Cheapskate Schools Cheated

(CN) - An educational publisher claims the Toledo Public Schools intentionally violated copyright by having teachers type its training guides into school computers, then distributing thousands of them.

Align, Assess, Achieve LLC sued the Toledo Public Schools in Columbus Federal Court.

Align, Assess, Achieve (AAA) says the school district bought 10 copies of books in its series, "Common Core: Clarifying Expectations for Teachers and Students."

AAA says the school system bought the books in August 2011, "apparently for the sole purpose of stealing and widely distributing the materials by having TPS teachers illegally transcribe these materials."

Under the licensing agreement, AAA says, the school district was explicitly limited to using one "pacing guide" from the series for each kindergarten, first grade and second grade math and English arts teacher.

However, "In the middle of August 2011, AAAA discovered for the first time that TPS had engaged in massive infringement of the AAA copyrighted works.

"Unbeknownst to AAA, TPS had engaged its teachers over the summer to take AAA copyrighted works and transcribe them - word for word - into electronic word processing documents. On information and belief, this massive copying of the AAA copyrighted works required numerous hours on behalf of TPS teachers and was done without any authorization by or knowledge of AAA," the complaint states.

"TPS falsely designated these newly created wholesale electronic versions of the AAA copyrighted works as 'pacing guides' when they were simply nothing of the sort. The documents created by TPS were not a high level outline designed to assist teachers in implementing the AAA materials, they were simply the entirely of the AAA copyrighted works in an unauthorized electronic format.

"AAA also learned that TPS had posted these unauthorized electronic copies of the AAA copyrighted works to the district's intranet, where it was made available to 2,000 teachers.

"TPS also printed a copy of what is believed to be more than 200 copies of the unauthorized electronic version of the AAA copyrighted works and distributed these hard copies to teachers at an orientation meeting in August 2011, at which time teachers were also instructed on how to download these files from the TPS Intranet."

AAA says it confronted district administrators about the blatant copyright infringement, and they responded by blaming the teachers who had done the transcribing.

AAA doesn't buy it. "The infringement of AAA's copyrights by TPS has been blatant, willful and without any regard for the law or AAA's economic interests in its valuable intellectual property," the complaint states.

AAA seeks actual damages and statutory damages for copyright infringement and breach of contract, and wanted the school district to destroy the infringing works.

It is represented by Brian Murphy with Murray, Murphy, Moul & Basil in Columbus.

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