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February 15, 2019

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Fighting for your rights: Intellectual property


uupdate 2-15-19

CLICK HERE to download a copy of UUP's Intellectual Property flyer


UUP’s battle to combat the theft of intellectual property is progressing.

The union soon expects a decision on its legal petition for a cease and desist order—filed by NYSUT late last year—against eight websites run by privately owned college study help companies that post and sell unauthorized course materials created by UUP members. A ruling on the case could come in March, according to Jamie Dangler, UUP’s statewide VP for Academics.

UUP and NYSUT filed the suit on behalf of more than 100 members who have found their intellectual property—items such as exams, study guides, notes, homework, and syllabi—for sale on websites such as Study Soup, Chegg and Course Hero.

Often, these copyright-protected materials are submitted to the sites by students, who are paid for uploading items like textbooks, notes and tests to the sites. The online companies then sell these protected works to anyone who will pay for them.

"We are confident that our order will be granted and that our members will be protected,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. "This is one very important way that UUP fights for its members.”

The petition seeks the immediate removal of the materials from the websites. It would also prohibit the companies from offering and selling materials owned and controlled by the UUP members named as plaintiffs in the case. If UUP is successful, the union will likely file another cease and desist petition to protect other members who have spotted their works on these sites.

Intellectual property owned by UUP members has been spotted on eight websites - Study Blue; Course Hero; Study Soup; Chegg; OneClass; Gradebuddy; Quizlet; and StuDocu.

UUP members who believe their materials are on one or more of these sites without their permission should contact Dangler via email at jdangler@uupmail.org or by phone, at 1-800-342-4206. Faculty should take these steps to determine if their materials are being posted without permission:

    • Check the eight websites above, or any websites that you suspect may be posting your materials
    • Make sure that your work—including course syllabi and other materials—has a copyright notice. Please view or the flyer, above, for more information.
    • Add this disclaimer to all of your materials: Reproduction of this material is prohibited without the author’s consent.”

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