In a new blog post, Jonathan Band (a copyright attorney and policy expert who has long advised library associations and allied groups) gives an overview of the new lawsuit filed against Chegg by the textbook publisher Pearson. The lawsuit claims that Chegg infringes the copyright in Pearson’s textbooks by offering a supplement product that provides answers to the study questions bundled with Pearson texts. While part of the complaint is fairly traditional, in that it claims Chegg literally copied the questions that Pearson publishes, another part of the argument is, as Jonathan says, “more abstract.” Pearson appears to claim that because it holds a copyright in the study questions, it has the exclusive right to publish answers, which it says are “derivative works” subject to their exclusive control under copyright law. Jonathan does an excellent job laying out how the arguments could play out from there - the arguments Chegg can make in response, etc. But Jonathan also notes the disturbingly broad policy implications of Pearson’s theory: it would chill every complementary or supplemental product designed to help students taking courses with a particular textbook.

Read the full blog post here: Pearson v. Chegg Challenges Lawfulness of Supplementary Educational Materials - Association of Research Libraries