David Berkovitz accused five Chapman University students of copyright infringement after they allegedly posted his midterm and final exam on Course Hero. The California professor is suing an unidentified group of students and wants the exam removed from the website.

“Defendants infringed Berkovitz’s exclusive right to reproduce, make copies, distribute, or create derivative works by publishing the Midterm Exam and Final Exam on the Course Hero Website without Berkovitz’s permission,” the federal lawsuit says.

Reports show that Berkovitz found portions of the exam on Course Hero in January 2022, and later filed for copyright registration of the exams on February 25, 2022.

According to reports, the lawsuit was filed last week in Orange, Calif. The lawsuit claims that the students committed copyright infringement because they posted parts of the exams for other students to see. Berkovitz’s lawyers said that the exams, which were taken last year, had warnings which informed students that the online exams should not be reproduced and that they were copyright protected.

“Defendants knew or should have known that their acts constituted Copyright Infringement,” the lawsuit added.

David Berkovitz Chapman University
David Berkovitz, a business professor at Chapman University, sued students over copyright infringement. He claims five students posted his final and midterm exam on Course Hero. (Credit: Shutterstock.com)

David Berkovitz is a professor at Chapman University and teaches business at the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics. The professor believes the copyright infringement happened during his Business 215 class, which was taught online last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With his lawsuit, David Berkovitz hopes to subpoena Course Hero to name the five students who posted the midterm and final exam. At the moment, the Chapman University professor doesn’t know who they are. If successful, Berkovitz plans on turning over the students’ names to the university honor board.

Chapman University said they are not involved in David Berkovitz’s lawsuit. The school released a statement saying that professors typically own the copyrights to their work. The school said, “Professors are free to pursue the removal of their copyright-protected content from websites such as Course Hero. However, we encourage faculty to use internal processes to work through student concerns.”

Course Hero is an education website that allows students to share lecture notes, study tips and sample quizzes so other students can use them for classes. The company released a statement saying that it does not allow copyright infringement on its website.

They said, “Course Hero never wants unauthorized content on our site, and before students and educators upload their content, they must agree to our terms of use and academic honor code, which explicitly states they may only upload content they have the right to upload.”

David Berkovitz lawyer, Marc Hankin, spoke to KTLA and said that posting the exams on Course Hero was unfair to other students who didn’t have access to the website.

He said, “Not only is it unethical and a violation of the honor code, but more importantly the business law courses are graded on a curve. So, if one or more students artificially inflates their own grade, they’re artificially suppressing the grades of their classmates who worked hard, studied hard, and are doing their own work.”

The filing said that the California professor wanted any devices containing the exams to be impounded from the students’ possession and that he is requesting “an award of actual damages and profits; an award of statutory damages for willful infringement; an award of attorneys’ fees; prejudgment interest; costs of the suit; and any and all additional relief that the Court may deem just and proper.”