UAntwerp seeks 17,000 euros in damages from students who shared exam questions

Two former students of the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) are on trial for copyright infringement for distributing photos of exam questions. The university is demanding 17,000 euros in damages.

The public prosecutor is asking for a suspended sentence for the two Pharmaceutical Sciences students who shared exam questions in 2022. The verdict will be delivered on 26 March.

One of the students had not studied enough for a physics exam and had taken his phone into the auditorium in order to cheat. When he noticed that a friend sitting in front of him was also online, he sent him pictures of his questions and asked for help.

The friend posted the pictures in a pharmacy group on WhatsApp, hoping to get the answers. The photos were then shared widely, eventually bringing them to the attention of the university.

According to the public prosecutor, the exam questions are protected by copyright

The two students were banned from taking any further exams, which amounted to a lost academic year. Both decided to leave UAntwerp and continue their studies at KU Leuven. The incident then led to a legal backlash, as UAntwerp filed a criminal complaint.

According to the public prosecutor, the exam questions are protected by copyright, so the defendants were not allowed to distribute pictures of them. Considering the students' disciplinary sanction and young age, the prosecutor asked for a suspended sentence so as not to jeopardise their future. 

The university is seeking compensation for damage to its reputation and costs incurred. The students' lawyers pleaded for acquittal and dismissal of the damages claim, arguing that the exam questions were merely an adaptation of the subject matter and not a protected work of literature.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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