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D’Youville Case is D’ismissed but may not be D’iscontinued

Court Grants D'Youville's Motion to Dismiss But Allows Plaintiff Professors to Amend Complaint

Last year, we reported on a case where six professors (”Professors”) filed a lawsuit against their former employer, D’Youville College (“D’Youville”). The plaintiffs argued that D’Youville continued to use their copyrighted educational course materials after their termination.

Since our last post, D’Youville responded to the lawsuit not with an Answer, but with a Motion to Dismiss asking the Court to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

One of D’Youville's arguments is that it has a license for the works in question. The Motion claims that the Complaint “makes no specific allegation that the Subject Work falls outside the agreement’s definition of ‘syllabus’” and that “the College holds a permanent license to use any 'syllabus' Plaintiffs created during their employment.” The argument concludes that “to the extent that the Subject Work includes such material, the College has a permanent license to use it and the license ‘immunizes’ the College from a copyright infringement claim.”

Another notable argument from the defendant is that the plaintiffs “provide no information about what portion of the subject work has been used, in which course, by whom, and when.” D’Youville claims that “district courts… routinely dismiss similar infringement allegations or even those that contain considerably more detail than (the Professors’).”

On September 29, 2022, the Court granted the Motion the Dismiss but gave the Professors permission to amend the Complaint to include additional details for only their infringement claims.

We will continue to follow this case to find out if the Plaintiffs file an Amended Complaint. We will provide updates if they become available.