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Copyright Blog

Cases Update

One Case Ongoing and Two Cases Settled

Marenem v. Springdale Public Schools

On May 1st, 2023, the CLO Blog made a post regarding a case in which an Arkansas school district (“Springdale”) faced allegations from a company (“Marenem”) regarding unauthorized use and distribution of proprietary materials. Following that report, the legal process unfolded with multiple hearings and subsequent amendments to filings.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer via Unsplash

On May 23, 2023, Springdale responded to Marenem’s allegations by submitting an answer. The district refuted claims that it had used Marenem’s copyrighted materials without permission in 11 YouTube videos. While acknowledging the use of Marenem’s works, Springdale denied being aware of their copyrighted status.

Regarding some specifics, Springdale admitted that it had produced some videos featuring three teachers using Marenem’s material, but that the videos were primarily shared with students through their Learning Management System, which is reserved for students only. Springdale also admitted having posted some videos on YouTube later but claimed that such videos had community relations purposes and were not commercial. However, Springdale clarified that they removed the videos from YouTube on August 12, 2021, and denied that the videos could bring financial harm to Marenem during the time they remained available.

Additionally, Springdale denied allegations of intentionally providing unauthorized public access to Marenem’s works or diminishing their market value. They also claimed not being aware of revised versions of Marenem’s stories and denied reproducing or distributing physical copies or graphic posters of Marenem’s book, “Secret Stories.”

In response to images presented by Marenem’s legal counsel, which purportedly showed Springdale teachers using book pages in YouTube videos, the district asserted it had insufficient information to confirm or deny these specific allegations.

In conclusion, the Springdale School District refuted most allegations and also invoked tort liability immunity under state law, which provides protection to governmental entities from certain liability and damages claims. As the case progresses, both parties continue to make amendments and participate in hearings, with the possibility of settlement discussions following an initial settlement conference held in October.

Photo by Radission US via Unsplash

Publishers v Radius International

In April 2022, we released a follow-up post concerning the case of Publishers v. Radius International, detailing Radius International's response to copyright allegations levied by publishers of educational textbooks. Following eighteen months of legal proceedings, both parties arrived at a settlement agreement and jointly requested that the court dismiss the case with prejudice. On February 17, 2023, Judge Jorge L. Alonso of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois officially concluded the case.

Oppenheimer v. The Trustees of The Stevens Institute of Technology et al.

Recently, another case reached its conclusion. In January 2023, David Oppenheimer (“Oppenheimer”) initiated a copyright infringement lawsuit but subsequently opted to settle with the Stevens Institute of Technology (the “Institute”). This resolution followed the Institute's counterclaims against Oppenheimer for trademark infringement. The federal judge presiding over the case had rejected Oppenheimer's motion to dismiss the Institute’s allegations, suggesting potential validity to the Institute's claims. Given this context, both parties agreed to a settlement to avoid further litigation, with each party covering its respective costs. The court approved the settlement on December 7, 2023.