May 27, 2024


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Can Copyright Law Prevent Cheating on Exams?


The modern possibilities for distant work and mastering have furnished advancements in life style for a number of staff members and college students. Several of those equipped to get the job done or research from residence have benefited from much more flexible schedules, reduction in time and money put in on commuting, reduction in operate- and university-related strain, and much more family members time. But individuals positive aspects have appear with some new worries. For instance, professors and teachers have confronted the challenge of how to reduce learners from dishonest on examinations. When regular ways failed, a business professor a short while ago turned to copyright legislation, hoping for a remedy.

David Berkovitz is an Assistant Professor at Chapman College in Orange, California. For the duration of the spring 2021 semester, he taught Business 215 to remote pupils. As section of that system, Prof. Berkovitz administered a midterm examination and a final test, which comprised copyrighted content. In accordance to experiences, he included stringent test recommendations, which includes “forbidding college students from employing any course materials, notes or on the internet means although taking the exams,” and instructing the learners they ended up “prohibited from copying any component of the examination.”

Even with individuals guidelines, about January 2022, he learned that portions of the two exams had been posted on the Program Hero site, alongside with requests for assistance with the concerns. The System Hero web site is an training-focused web page for document sharing.

It has been documented that Prof. Berkovitz located proof that one particular or additional pupils sought aid with the inquiries during the actual test. His legal professional mentioned that just after obtaining portions of his test on the general public web site, Prof. Berkovitz contacted Program Hero, seeking the identity of the college students who posted his product. Class Hero declined to deliver the information absent a subpoena.

To attain a subpoena, Berkovitz would have to sign up his copyrights and file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, which he did. His complaint named John Does 1-5 as placeholders for the college students to be recognized throughout discovery. Berkovitz alleged that the Defendants infringed his unique ideal to reproduce, make copies, distribute, or develop derivative will work by publishing the midterm examination and ultimate exam on the Course Hero Website without permission. He further more alleged that Defendants knew or should really have known that their functions constituted copyright infringement. Given the exams ended up part of a business law class that provided the subject of copyright infringement, the professor’s attorney found the copying ironic.

This lawsuit was dismissed one month after it was submitted. Possible, a subpoena issued and the people today who posted the substance were identified, at the very least by consumer account, and are remaining dealt with via the university’s honor code provisions.

This situation, nevertheless, raises the dilemma our educators are dealing with: when dealing with distant mastering, it is tough to law enforcement tests but needed. Cheating artificially inflates grades and skews curves, perhaps triggering students who did not cheat to get lower letter grades than good.

To counter this problem, some faculty have applied cameras and monitoring devices or services to view pupils get tests, but that raises different privateness rights and needs viewing of hrs of movies. Some have produced the exams open up guide, hoping to lower the “need” for dishonest. Some make tests excess difficult or lengthier than usual to go away little time for unsanctioned collaboration. Some use many decision issues in random buy with the responses randomly scrambled, producing it tougher for learners to compare answers remotely.  One college member performed individual tests orally by videoconference but that raises difficulties of whether just about every college student experienced the similar examination practical experience. Other folks depend on the integrity of the students and the honor code of their faculties, hoping learners will not hazard failing the class or becoming kicked out, if they are caught cheating.

But Prof. Berkovitz, an legal professional, utilised a more innovative technique by turning to copyright regulation. Even though he evidently was not genuinely interested in a financial sanction from the students, he apparently did want to recognize the pupils and have them sanctioned below the university’s dishonest guidelines. Ideally, this will have the effect of deterring students from trying to get outdoors aid on sharing internet websites, mainly because they now know that it is not only cheating, but a violation of copyright law. Not only can this guide to financial damages, but also, as in this case, they danger owning their identity exposed by a subpoena to the site exactly where they posted the substance.


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