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The Copyright Licensing Office (CLO) provides assistance, services, tools, and resources to the faculty, staff, and students of Brigham Young University to successfully navigate the challenging landscape of copyright.

Mission

The mission of the BYU Copyright Licensing Office is to ensure compliance with copyright laws by providing education and training, assuring effective licensing practices, resolving unauthorized use of copyright protected materials, and remaining current with copyright law and policy developments.

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Sep 15, 2017

Cap and Gown Competitor Website Too Close for Copyright Comfort

Graduation Solutions, LLC v. Acadima, LLC, 17-cv-01342 (D. Conn)
By Casey Mock

A provider of academic regalia, Graduation Solutions, has filed a complaint alleging copyright and trade dress infringement by a competitor for using a very similar website format and product presentations.  Among the evidence of intentional copying is the verbatim lifting of language from the Graduation Solutions website, including a spelling error in the offering of a service.  Further language and styles appearing to have been replicated are presented in which Graduation Solutions claims to indicate intentional copying and making unauthorized derivative works, such as minor rearranging of words so that the websites are not exactly the same.

The use of another’s intellectual property in this manner has consequences that can greatly affect the original website owner.  The complain alleges that Acadima, the competitor, “purposefully intended to divert customers from [Graduation Solutions]’s website, unfairly poach sales . . . and trade upon [Graduation Solutions] goodwill.”  Acadima also purchased the Google Adwords “graduation source” to divert customers to their website. Graduation Solutions alleges that actual and potential customers have relied upon intentional confusion that has impacted their business.

Graduation Solutions also alleges false advertising.  The Acadima website recites: “WE OUTFIT OVER 500,000 GRADUATES A YEAR.”  This number is identical to that recited on Graduation Solution’s website.  Therefore, Graduation Solution alleges that the number is either literally false or is deceptive such that customers are confused as to Acadima’s experience and influence on the market.

Graduation Solutions is seeking an award of actual damages and an profits that Acadima that are attributable to the infringement damages.  Among other damages, they also seek an injunction to compel Acadima to take down their website and any infringing material.

Sep 06, 2017

Former Student Athlete Sues University for Using his Likeness

Spielman v. IMG College, LLC, 17-cv-00612 (S.D. Ohio)
By Casey Mock

On July 14, 2017, Chris Spielman, a former NFL All-Pro and NCAA All-American linebacker, filed a class action lawsuit against The Ohio State University and IMG College.  Spielman brought the action on behalf of former and current student-athletes claiming that the Defendants licensed or sold images of student-athletes to corporate sponsors to be used on banners when the athletes never agreed to appear on the banners and received no compensation for the use of the images.  Spielman also claims that the University’s licensing agreements using former and current player’s images have unreasonably and illegally restrained trade to commercially exploit former student athletes because the athletes have no future ownership interests in their own images.

The complaint alleges that the University and its commercial partners reap millions of dollars from revenue streams exploiting the images and likenesses of the athletes while the student-athletes receive no compensation at all in violation of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).  Spielman seeks relief of monetary damages, an accounting of money received by the Defendants in connection with the exploitation of the student-athlete images, and an injunction preventing the University and the other Defendants from entering into any other contracts or agreements regarding future compensation rights with respect to Spielman and other student-athletes.

Student Sued for Allegedly Wearing Spyglasses During MCAT

Association of American Medical Colleges v. Anyanwu, 17-cv-03051 (N.D. GA)
By Casey Mock

On August 14, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which administers the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), sued student Gabriel Anyanwu for copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and computer fraud.  AAMC’s complaint alleges that Anyanwu took the MCAT with the intent to secretly record test content using spyglasses.

AAMC takes significant precautions to preserve the confidentiality of the MCAT.  Although more than 78,000 students sit for the MCAT each year, each examinee enters into a confidentiality agreement with AAMC prior to gaining access to the exam.  Further, among other security measures, each examinee is required to provide handwriting and fingerprint bio-metrics prior to every entrance into the exam room and any large or unusual jewelry, watches, or eyeglasses are inspected.

AAMC alleges that Anyanwu exhibited suspicious behavior by signing in to take the exam only five minutes before the exam was scheduled to start and wearing unusual eyeglasses.  Upon initial screening, Anyanwu held the glasses “in such a way that it was difficult to inspect them.” A Test Center Administrator examined the eyeglasses after a break before re-admitting him to the exam room.  The administrator said that the glasses were “peculiarly-shaped, the frames bent in a concave shape at the bridge of the nose, and had unusually thick temples.”  The administrator saw that the lenses had an “appearance of a rainbow when looking through them, there were buttons on the inside temples of the classes, and two holes on either side of the face of the frames near where the temples connect to the frames.” Also, upon review of the security tapes Anyanwu was acting suspiciously, frequently touching the glasses throughout the exam using both hands to adjust the left side of the glasses.

After the inspection, Anyanwu refused to allow the administrator to confiscate the glasses, insisting that they were not spy glasses and that he needed them to see.  He was allowed to resume taking the test without the eyeglasses, which were placed in a personal locker, finished the exam quickly, retrieved the glasses from his locker and left the Test Center.

AAMC states that Anyanwu’s unauthorized copying of the MCAT forms constitutes direct copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501 because of his reproduction of the copyrighted work and/or preparing one or more derivative works based upon the copyrighted work and/or distributing an unauthorized copy of the copyrighted work.  Among other damages, AAMC seeks an injunction to permanently restrain Anyanwu’s direct infringement of the copyrighted MCAT exam content and either statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work infringed or the actual damages suffered.