A jury has awarded an education publisher $9.2 million in damages stemming from a lawsuit that accused the Houston school district of allowing the illicit copying and posting of the company’s materials online, despite repeated warnings to stop.
Jurors in a federal court in Houston made the award after hearing publisher DynaStudy argue that the district’s actions violated copyright laws and resulted in lost sales and a devaluing of the organization’s work.
Texas-based DynaStudy provides students with course notes that offer reference guides throughout the year and study aids before unit tests and standardized assessments. The course notes cover a variety of subjects and grade levels and are meant to be aligned to Texas state standards. DynaStudy says the lawsuit focused on 38 of its copyrighted works.
Numerous district employees were accused of duplicating and sharing the materials despite warnings on the documents that said, “Copying This Material is Strictly Prohibited.” The copied materials ended up getting used across Texas, the lawsuit claimed.
District officials said they have added annual online training on copyright laws that is required for all employees at the beginning of each school year.
A version of this article appeared in the June 12, 2019 edition of Education Week as Houston Hit With $9 Million Verdict Over Copyright Infringement