Handling Issues with Copyrights

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“Background: I was selling a study kits on eBay for the Veterinary Technician National Board Exam. The kits were photocopies of a series of handouts I received from a class I took in NYC 10 years ago to study for the boards. None of the materials have any copyright notice on them, nor were we informed to “keep this information to ourselves” during the class. The kit is basically practice questions and answers, one set of questions for each year over a 12 year span. They were selling like hotcakes on eBay since there are limited resources for study materials for the boards.

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Then I get a letter from a lawyer representing the VTNE owners. They go on to tell me that I have to stop selling the study materials and give them all copies along with names and addresses of all buyers of the kit along with what that person paid for it. I sent them an email telling them that I will stop selling it and would get back to them about the rest.

Question: What is likely to happen if I ignore the request and continue to sell this item on eBay? Best and worst case scenario?”

Just because there was no copyright notice does not mean that copyright does not exist, and indeed it almost certainly does given the scenario you have just described. The odds are good that VTNE does indeed own the copyright to all of the materials which they created, and by photocopying and distributing those materials, you are in violation of the copyright.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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