Am. Registry of Radiologic Technologists v. Bennett

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, Infringement
  • Date Filed: 08-26-2013
  • Case #: SA-12-CV-00109-DAE
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120548
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 4520533
  • Full Text Opinion

Emailing members of a exam study service the copyrighted questions found on previously administered exam constituted copyright infringement.

(Opinion Ezra): The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists ("ARRT") is a nonprofit organization which develops and administers examinations for those wishing to be certified in several medical radiologic disciplines. ARRT has registered the copyright for the questions in its "Test Item Bank." Diane Bennett ("Bennett") holds two ARRT certifications and operates an ARRT examination study service. As part of Bennett's service, she gathers and provides her students with examples of past ARRT examination questions. Bennett provided past examination questions in study guides and in email alerts. Bennett's email alerts often contained exam questions which Bennett obtained by interviewing recent exam takers to discover what questions had been asked. Upon learning of Bennett's interview and email service, ARRT was forced to retire 87 questions from its Test Item Bank. ARRT then filed suit alleging, among other causes of action, copyright infringement. In finding in favor of ARRT's copyright infringement claim, the court ruled that: 1) ARRT's registration of the Test Item Bank questions established a presumption of validity in the copyrights which Bennett had failed to overcome; 2) the testimony of Bennett's students established that there was both an opportunity to copy the Test Item Bank questions and probative similarity, thus establishing sufficient evidence to establish actual copying; and 3) substantial similarity between Bennett's disseminated questions and ARRT's copyrighted questions. The court ruled in favor of ARRT on their copyright infringement claim and GRANTED them a judgment in the amount of $87,000 ($1,000 for each question retired).

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