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Chapman University Professor Sues Students For Posting Test Materials Online

A beige building with a Chapman University sign in front of it sits against a cloudy sky.
Chapman University in Orange, CA
(Photo courtesy of Chapman University)
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A Chapman University Professor is suing some of his students for allegedly cheating on his exams.

The unnamed students are accused of posting his exam materials on Course Hero - a site popular among students for sharing syllabuses and lecture notes. He hopes that the lawsuit will force the website to reveal the identities of the students who shared the exam.

His attorney, Marc Hankin, said Berkovitz's exams were copyrighted, and that by posting those exams, students were infringing on the professor’s copyrighted material.

“Each of the exams at the top of it had a big legend that said 'Quiz Instructions. This is a closed book exam, do not use the internet, do not ask anyone else for help. Do not copy the exam questions or your exam answers',” said Hankin. “I mean, it says it right in big, big letters right at the top of each of the exams. So the students should have known better”

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Hankin said the professor is worried that students who may have cheated unfairly caused their honest classmates to receive lower grades on the school's curve.

“Many of the students at Chapman University are on financial aid, and a lot of those scholarships are tied to a minimum GPA,” said Hankin. ”Professor Berkovitz is concerned that because some students are cheating, other students may lose their scholarship, and they have to drop out of school through no fault of their own, simply because their grade was artificially suppressed on the mandatory curve.”

This is not the first time an academic subscription site has been sued for copyright infringement.

In September 2021, Pearson Education, a textbook company, filed a lawsuit against the study website Chegg, claiming that it infringed copyright by posting end-of-chapter questions from Pearson’s textbooks on its platform.

Course Hero said it will cooperate with a subpoena to release the names of students who posted the material, and that the company "does not tolerate copyright infringement of any kind."

They added that their “policies include swift content removal, prevention of infringing content being reuploaded to the platform, and removing repeat offenders.”

We've reached out to Chapman University for comment and have not heard back.

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