Harvard has filed a copyright lawsuit against a number of commercial websites that are allegedly selling materials intended to prepare students to pass online course exams on HBX—Harvard Business School’s digital learning platform.
Harvard alleges that the test sale sites accessed and copied exams on HBX’s CORe, or Credential of Readiness, program that provides introductory business courses for students and professionals not enrolled in the Business School, according to the complaint the University filed on April 29. It goes on to say that the preparatory materials offered by the websites “are either identical or substantially similar to Harvard’s copyrighted exam question and answers.”
Harvard alleges that it has suffered more than $75,000 in losses as a result of the infringements on its CORe program, which is designed and taught by Business School faculty and staff.
The defendants, which are a group of currently unnamed individuals referred to as John Does 1-20 in the complaint, operate over 50 Internet domains, including “Certkiller.com,” “Testking.com,” “Certgenie.com,” and “Pass4sure.com.”
Harvard is requesting that the defendants pay damages and illegal profits back to Harvard and that the domain names listed be transferred to Harvard, according to the lawsuit. Harvard also plans to name the people selling the test prep material when it identifies them.
“We are making a clear statement that we will not tolerate test piracy or use of pirated materials by filing the lawsuit,” Business School spokesperson Jim Aisner ’68 wrote in a statement. He added that HBX plans to take measures to prevent copyright infringement in the future.
Viewed as a success by students and staff in part because of an initial 85 percent completion rate and student evaluations comparable to those of in-class evaluations given to Harvard Business School MBA students, the year-old CORe program has grown significantly since its inauguration. In February, HBX expanded its CORe to students worldwide, and it has since looked to partner with other universities to reserve a certain number of spots in the online class, including Amherst College.
—Staff writer Mariel A. Klein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mariel_klein.