Sep 06, 2017

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.