Monday, Aug 21, 2017
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Publishing Co. sues TPS over copyright

A Worthington, Ohio-based publishing company has sued Toledo Public Schools in federal court, claiming the district "engaged in massive infringement" of its copyrighted work.

Align, Assess, Achieve entered into a copyright license agreement with TPS for company books and materials that provide teacher guidance in meeting the Common Core education standards, a voluntary multistate effort to have uniform curriculum standards in schools. The company claims in its lawsuit, which it filed Jan. 6 in Columbus, that the agreement specified TPS could only use the works to prepare pacing guides for the teachers for whom the district had bought the company's book.

Despite the agreement, according to the complaint, TPS in August had teachers transcribe the copyrighted work in its entirety. The district later posted the copies on its intranet, making it available to all teachers, the company claims. Align, Assess, Achieve argues in its lawsuit that TPS apparently purchased a handful of copies of its work "for the sole purpose of stealing" and then distributing it among teachers.

"To add insult to the significant injury to AAA by its actions, TPS falsely attributed authorship of the unauthorized electronic versions of the AAA copyrighted works to the teachers the district employed as scriveners to steal AAA's intellectual property," the company claims.

TPS attorney Keith Wilkowski dismissed the lawsuit, saying district officials tried to talk with company representatives in August about the dispute, but had not heard back. The material was only briefly used, and TPS offered to pay for it at the time.

"We don't believe there's any validity to the claim," he said. A message left Thursday with Align, Assess, Achieve was not returned.

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