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Another Cheating Scandal

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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 06:04
1
A few points here. Let me first stress that I am not a lawyer, and the below is non-expert speculation on the issues:

Regarding the legality of posting questions to forums from the Official Guide or GMATPrep, I'd wonder whether one could make a case that the reproduction of occasional questions constitutes 'fair use'. Under US copyright law (as quoted in wikipedia), "the fair use of a copyrighted work [...] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

Quoting further, four factors are explicitly identified as considerations to be applied when evaluating whether reproduction of copyright material constitutes 'fair use':

"1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

As pointed out in the GMAC memorandum requesting default judgment in the case, ScoreTop "have permitted users to post links that provide copies of entire GMAC test preparation books." That is, they reproduced copyrighted work in its entirety (viz item 3), and presumably damaged the market for the original work (item 4). In addition, ScoreTop charged money for VIP access, and was thus of a commercial nature (item 1). In these respects, gmatclub is different from ScoreTop.

Regardless of whether reproducing GMATPrep or OG questions does constitute a copyright violation, there is the separate question of whether GMAC would have any interest in pursuing legal action. I did see the following post on the Beat The GMAT forum from the forum's founder: "Beat The GMAT has been in communication with GMAC and GMAC's attorneys over the past year to ensure that this community is compliant." That's from: http://www.beatthegmat.com/don-t-post-s ... 12-15.html. Of course, many people post questions from the Official Guide and GMATPrep to Beat The GMAT, as they do at gmatclub, and my inference from the quote above is that GMAC's attorneys are aware of the practice and are not pursuing action because of it. But that's based only on reading the above quote; I have no more information than that.

And to address a couple of factual points:

GMAC pursued action against ScoreTop on three grounds- copyright infringement, contributory infringement (for encouraging others to reproduce copyrighted material) and tortious interference (for violation of the non-disclosure agreement agreed to prior to the test). They did not merely pursue a case for copyright violation. While no damages were awarded based on the tortious interference claim, the judicial opinion did mention that such damages would be 'duplicative' of the damages for copyright infringement. By my reading, the secure nature of the GMAT test also contributed to the decision of the amount of the damages awarded.

Finally, GMAC is a non-profit, not a business.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 06:10
walker wrote:
I've just thought that those people hit us twice. They unfairly increased their scores and eventually decreased our score, because in such situation GMAC rates a problem more easier than it is. For example, 700-level problem shifted to 650-level and we lost our points! I guess all cheaters reach 90% (20'000) and could essentially distort (6'000 of 20'000) GMAT scale at high level scores. :devil


Great point. The performance of ScoreTop users on diagnostic questions would certainly affect how these questions were calibrated, and some of those questions are likely to be in the question pool used today. I wonder if GMAC will need to recalibrate current questions after identifying who had advance access to 'live' material...
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 06:19
kevincan wrote:
kidderek wrote:
BSchoolorBust wrote:
For my own selfish purposes I would like GMAC to cancel the scores of everyone who used Scoretop (less competition for the rest of us!)

There is absolutely nothing selfish about what you want.

walker wrote:
I've just thought that those people hit us twice. They unfairly increased their scores and eventually decreased our score, because in such situation GMAC rates a problem more easier than it is. For example, 700-level problem shifted to 650-level and we lost our points! I guess all cheaters reach 90% (20'000) and could essentially distort (6'000 of 20'000) GMAT scale at high level scores. :devil

Well the stat is more in the 200,000 - 250,000. But with that said, I'm telling you this 6,000 domestic figure is just the tip of the iceberg.


I think Walker is referring to high scorers (GMAT 700+).
Keep in mind that these 6000 people were over 4 years and that not all VIP members cheated.



Ooops, good catch. And, there's not yet truth to the statement that, "not all VIP members cheated."
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 06:44
Good points Ian

I am surprised that the 'copyright violation' aspect of the ST case does not get much attention on this forum, because we, the gmatclubbers, could be breaking the law the same way ST people did in regard to copyrights.

But, in college for example you are allowed to quote stuff from books, that is not copyright violation, so I assume we are fine here on gmatclub because we are basically quoting just some small part of a book (the same way we used quotes in school papers).

.... just my 2 cents

IanStewart wrote:
A few points here. Let me first stress that I am not a lawyer, and the below is non-expert speculation on the issues:
......

Finally, GMAC is a non-profit, not a business.

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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 07:11
IanStewart wrote:
I'd wonder whether one could make a case that the reproduction of occasional questions constitutes 'fair use'. Under US copyright law (as quoted in wikipedia), "the fair use of a copyrighted work [...] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."


Thanks for that. Very wise law :)
+1

IanStewart wrote:
Finally, GMAC is a non-profit, not a business.

It is interesting how it works and who are owners. Especially, how is GMAC related to B-schools.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 08:10
I was wondering about fair use... good post.

edit: For those curious...

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

Looks like scoretop was in trouble on items 1,3,4 -- and maybe 2 (thought thats some pretty unclear verbiage if you ask me)
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 09 Jul 2008, 02:41
deleteddeleteddeleteddeleted

Originally posted by sumit1234 on 01 Jul 2008, 09:05.
Last edited by sumit1234 on 09 Jul 2008, 02:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 09:10
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 09:52
rhyme wrote:
I was wondering about fair use... good post.

edit: For those curious...

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

Looks like scoretop was in trouble on items 1,3,4 -- and maybe 2 (thought thats some pretty unclear verbiage if you ask me)


rhyme,

As any good reporter would, you've given us the info, but no opinion. Care to share your thoughts?
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 10:52
kidderek wrote:
rhyme wrote:
I was wondering about fair use... good post.

edit: For those curious...

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

Looks like scoretop was in trouble on items 1,3,4 -- and maybe 2 (thought thats some pretty unclear verbiage if you ask me)


rhyme,

As any good reporter would, you've given us the info, but no opinion. Care to share your thoughts?


I'm no lawyer... and the previous poster did a good job I think.... Not sure I have much to add honestly. To me, it looks like the occasional post of a question from the OG or similar would constitute fair use, provided its primary intention was educational and that the site didn't benefit monetarily from the post, and provided that it didn't materially affect GMAC's ability to charge fees for their content.

Unlike this site and others, scoretop's intention was commercial and for profit (issue #1), they copied substantial portions of entire material - in some cases offering up digital copies of the entire official guides (issue #3) - and certainly, their ongoing attempts to subvert the security of the exam would materially negatively impact the value of GMAC's copyrighted work (issue #4). (That is, if the test is compromised, then GMAC is out of business). If I had to guess, I would say its really this last issue that brought on the wrath of GMAC.
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 10:57
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 10:58
rhyme,

Errrr, I meant scoretop, the cheating scandal, and what should happen to the cheaters/maybe cheaters, not the copyright issue. For me, the copyright thing is mostly a non-issue.
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:06
You know what else is fun?

Finding people who are covering their tracks.

Check this out.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&c ... AUySOYY4gw

See scoretop anywhere on there?

Nope? Guess what, as of June 18, 2008 it was...

http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Uw ... cd=1&gl=us

Or here's a beauty:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&c ... PV6bjjSukg

G the blogs been removed?

Why might that be......

http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:P4 ... cd=4&gl=us

in there you find: "A month before the test, I joined the JJ section of http://www.scoretop.com . The questions provided here are very useful and help you gauge the GMAT questions. Must use. Highly recommended"

How long ago was that there? As recently as June 15th, 2008.
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:15
kidderek wrote:
rhyme,

Errrr, I meant scoretop, the cheating scandal, and what should happen to the cheaters/maybe cheaters, not the copyright issue. For me, the copyright thing is mostly a non-issue.


Well, everyone has their own view. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. So, personally, those that clearly either

a) posted that they benefited (eg statements like "Yea! I saw 10 JJs! Awesome! I finished 20 minutes early!")

and/or

b) posted questions from their own exam

Should have their scores revoked and should be summarily expelled from whatever institution they are at. If they have graduated, their degrees should be revoked. Everyone else, I say give em the benefit of the doubt.

By "clearly" I mean people that you can all but conclusively identify. For instance, someone with the name Bobby Dumbass uses his credit card to buy access for an account named Dumbass928. You know thats a real name because the guy used his credit card. Two months later, Dumbass928 posts his score and breakdown all the while screaming about how great JJs are and how he saw so many of them, and GMAT verifies that someone by the name of Bobby Dumbass did in fact take the test around the time of that post and scored the same as that individual both in breakdown and total. In those cases, I think its pretty darn clear.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:16
Excellent sleuthing, Rhyme. If only GMAC would go after the individuals...

I get the feeling that the people involved are going to be swept under the rug.
- tsd
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:19
TimeSquareDesi wrote:
I get the feeling that the people involved are going to be swept under the rug.
- tsd


Indeed, I think so as well.
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:26
people think that will make any difference now? they have been investigating this for a couple of years, so I am sure they found those websites. I found some blogs with a simple google search a few days ago of people talking about JJ's etc.
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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:28
Did your classmate cover his tracks as well rhyme? :)

rhyme wrote:
You know what else is fun?

Finding people who are covering their tracks.

Check this out.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&c ... AUySOYY4gw

See scoretop anywhere on there?

Nope? Guess what, as of June 18, 2008 it was...

http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:Uw ... cd=1&gl=us

Or here's a beauty:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&c ... PV6bjjSukg

G the blogs been removed?

Why might that be......

http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:P4 ... cd=4&gl=us

in there you find: "A month before the test, I joined the JJ section of http://www.scoretop.com . The questions provided here are very useful and help you gauge the GMAT questions. Must use. Highly recommended"

How long ago was that there? As recently as June 15th, 2008.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 11:32
rhyme wrote:
TimeSquareDesi wrote:
I get the feeling that the people involved are going to be swept under the rug.
- tsd


Indeed, I think so as well.


Hey! I predicted that on page 3!!!!

Anyway, gmac says they'll go after the people who posted the questions first. Well, the problem is, that the majority of the JJ questions probably came from China, where these institutions pay people, whether it be regular Joe Schmoe's or gmat instructors to take the test frequently "to bring back" the questions.

Canceling their gmat scores has no effect on them.
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jul 2008, 12:53
sigh, it saddens me to see such blatant admission of using the JJ's on those blogs. :( Those people definitely need to be punished.

Good work rhyme, as always. :)
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Re: Another Cheating Scandal &nbs [#permalink] 01 Jul 2008, 12:53

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