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Sent on Mormon-News: 13Jan01

By Kent Larsen

BYU Sued For Copyright Violation

PROVO, UTAH -- A former BYU student is suing the school, claiming that BYU used her play without permission. Sallie Larsen, who graduated from BYU in 1990, wrote an award-winning one-hour multimedia presentation on the traditions and heritage of BYU which was used with permission until 1997. Larsen claims that the school then used her play without permission in August 1998 as part of student orientation.

But BYU claims that the work was written as a "work for hire" because BYU hired Larsen before she finished writing the play. BYU attorney Todd E. Zenger said, "We believe we are the author of this stage production." Although the school hasn't used the play since Auust 1998, it further claims that Larsen gave permission for that performance.

The play won the Most Innovative Program Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 1995. Larsen then sought to secure her copyright in the play, registering the copyright in 1996, and advising BYU officials a year later that she was the copyright owner. After the August 1998 performance, which was attended by about 6,000 people, Larsen said she got a letter from Student Life Vice President Alton L. Wade acknowledging her copyrighted interest in the play. Wade wrote that BYU must "negotiate a license" with Larsen to use it.

U.S. District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins tried to encourage a settlement of the case at a hearing Friday, offering attorneys from both sides a room in his chambers in which to negotiate a settlement. But after the Judge heard two other cases, the attorneys couldn't reach a settlement. A pretrial hearing in the matter has been set for late February.


Former student, BYU headed for trial
Deseret News 7Jan01 D3
By Maria Titze: Deseret News staff writer
School infringed on her copyright, '90 graduate says

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