Can Copyright Law Prevent Cheating on Exams?


The recent opportunities for remote do the job and understanding have presented improvements in life-style for a variety of staff members and pupils. Several of these in a position to operate or analyze from residence have benefited from more flexible schedules, reduction in time and dollars put in on commuting, reduction in do the job- and faculty-associated stress, and much more relatives time. But all those gains have arrive with some new troubles. For instance, professors and lecturers have confronted the obstacle of how to reduce learners from dishonest on tests. When typical techniques unsuccessful, a business enterprise professor lately turned to copyright regulation, hoping for a remedy.

David Berkovitz is an Assistant Professor at Chapman University in Orange, California. For the duration of the spring 2021 semester, he taught Small business 215 to distant college students. As portion of that class, Prof. Berkovitz administered a midterm examination and a last examination, which comprised copyrighted materials. In accordance to reports, he provided rigid examination recommendations, which include “forbidding learners from using any course products, notes or on the net sources though taking the assessments,” and instructing the pupils they had been “prohibited from copying any portion of the test.”

In spite of those guidelines, all around January 2022, he learned that parts of the two examinations experienced been posted on the Training course Hero web-site, along with requests for assistance with the inquiries. The Course Hero site is an education and learning-focused site for doc sharing.

It has been reported that Prof. Berkovitz identified proof that 1 or additional learners sought assist with the inquiries through the true examination. His lawyer stated that after finding parts of his test on the general public web site, Prof. Berkovitz contacted Study course Hero, trying to find the identification of the learners who posted his product. System Hero declined to supply the data absent a subpoena.

To get a subpoena, Berkovitz would have to sign up his copyrights and file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, which he did. His criticism named John Does 1-5 as placeholders for the pupils to be recognized all through discovery. Berkovitz alleged that the Defendants infringed his exceptional right to reproduce, make copies, distribute, or create derivative is effective by publishing the midterm test and remaining examination on the Class Hero Site with out permission. He further alleged that Defendants realized or ought to have identified that their acts constituted copyright infringement. Specified the exams have been element of a small business legislation class that incorporated the subject of copyright infringement, the professor’s legal professional uncovered the copying ironic.

This lawsuit was dismissed a single month immediately after it was submitted. Likely, a subpoena issued and the people today who posted the substance ended up identified, at the very least by person account, and are being dealt with through the university’s honor code provisions.

This scenario, however, raises the issue our educators are dealing with: when dealing with remote learning, it is tough to police examinations but essential. Cheating artificially inflates grades and skews curves, probably creating pupils who did not cheat to acquire decrease letter grades than fair.

To counter this dilemma, some school have applied cameras and checking devices or solutions to observe students get tests, but that raises many privacy rights and demands viewing of hrs of video clips. Some have manufactured the examinations open up book, hoping to minimize the “need” for dishonest. Some make exams more complicated or lengthier than usual to leave minimal time for unsanctioned collaboration. Some use multiple selection issues in random purchase with the responses randomly scrambled, earning it more difficult for college students to compare solutions remotely.  1 faculty member executed unique exams orally by videoconference but that raises concerns of irrespective of whether every single university student experienced the similar check knowledge. Others count on the integrity of the pupils and the honor code of their educational institutions, hoping college students will not chance failing the class or getting kicked out, if they are caught cheating.

But Prof. Berkovitz, an lawyer, employed a extra creative method by turning to copyright legislation. Although he seemingly was not actually interested in a financial sanction from the learners, he apparently did want to detect the pupils and have them sanctioned below the university’s cheating guidelines. Ideally, this will have the outcome of deterring learners from trying to find outside help on sharing internet websites, for the reason that they now know that it is not only dishonest, but a violation of copyright law. Not only can this lead to financial damages, but also, as in this case, they possibility owning their identification uncovered by a subpoena to the web-site where by they posted the substance.


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