Due to two separate lawsuits and a change in how professors teach classes, a Florida company that sold student created study guides has filed for bankruptcy.
Class Notes LLC announced its decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last week, and has also suspended all operations related to the buying and selling of class notes and study guides.
Class Notes functions by students selling lecture notes to the company, who in turn makes the notes into study guides that students can buy for specific classes.
However, as of now Class Notes is facing two copyright lawsuits from another Florida-based company: Faulkner Press. Faulkner Press believes that Class Notes is violating copyright laws, and that materials gathered in class are protected under copyright laws.
The two lawsuits are on behalf of a University of Florida professor who is being represented by Faulkner Press, however, due to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing a hold has been placed on both of the lawsuits.
In addition to this specific case, if the company is found to have been in violation of copyright laws there could be nationwide repercussions as there are other companies that function in similar ways.
As of now, an attorney for Class Notes said these claims are bogus, and that the University of Florida has already lost a similar lawsuit that was filed in 1996 against A-Plus Notes, which was the predecessor to the current company. At that time it was ruled by a jury that the information presented in class is not original intellectual property.
However, it's not just the two pending lawsuits that put Class Notes in a tough financial situation needing to file for bankruptcy, as the company also cites that more and more professors are posting study guides online, therefore making its products unnecessary.
By filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, not only have the lawsuits been put on hold, but Class Notes will be able to sell any assets and discharge debts.
Source: The Gainesville Sun, "Local firm Class Notes LLC files for Chapter 7," Anthony Clark, 26 Jan 2011