It doesn’t take an Einstein to know that tutoring is a big business in Westport.
Students — well, their parents — spend big bucks. They pay not just for traditional catch-up or explain-deeper tutoring, but for test and quiz preparation, even homework help.
Some may be paying for material they should not actually see.
A local teacher recently learned that a tutoring company helped prepare students for tests by handing out worksheets that the teacher — not the tutoring company, or any of its tutors — had created.
The teacher’s name was even on the sheets.
“I’ve spent my career creating lessons and handouts,” the teacher says. “Every year I revise what I do — trying to make it better. That’s my job. I create materials, so my students can learn.”
The teacher tutors too. “I believe in the importance of help,” the teacher says. “But this is my work. It’s being appropriated by someone else. They took it without asking. That company is making money off of me.”
It’s not just an ethical argument.
A copyright attorney says that while it is unclear who owns the copyright to that material — the teacher or the school — this is “unquestionably copyright infringement.” The attorney believes the tutoring service could be sued for damages — and, in theory, the copyright holder could also seek an injunction against the service.
The teacher now includes a copyright notice on the bottom of every worksheet, quiz and test handed out.
Maybe the next tutoring session could be on copyright law.