Copyright Clash to Threaten English Tests

Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world's leading non-profit testing institution, will consider suspending English language testing in China if it loses a pending copyright infringement case, according to an ETS official.

Tom Ewing, director of external communications at ETS, said, "If ETS does not receive protection for its test questions, GRE and TOEFL testing programmes will be threatened."

Sources with ETS said the institution was facing serious copyright infringement problems in China and it had filed a lawsuit against alleged infringer Beijing New Oriental School (New Oriental) last December.

Beijing First Intermediate People's Court has accepted the case, court sources said.

The New Oriental School is known for training courses, especially examination preparation courses for overseas studies, including the TOEFL and GRE programmes.

However, Xu Xiaoping, vice-president of the school, said "it was not possible for ETS to suspend the two tests in China."

Xu said a suspension would pose a threat to the prospects of Chinese students and may harm Sino-US educational exchanges.

ETS has previously filed a lawsuit against New Oriental, but that failed to stop the use and sale of copyrighted test questions.

ETS claims New Oriental has been reproducing, publishing and distributing copyrighted GRE test questions and test forms without authorization from ETS since the mid-1990s.

It also claims New Oriental distributed confidential test questions that could appear on GRE and TOEFL exam papers.

New Oriental did not deny its "mistake" in using copyrighted material, according to Xu.

He said the school is taking this opportunity to "seek a sustainable solution with ETS" to help Chinese students acquire authorized copyrighted questions and test preparation material at a reasonable price."

But ETS is determined to "do everything within its power to bring an end to this illegal operation."

It claims the unauthorized activities have earned New Oriental substantial profits and compromised the security and integrity of test programmes.

ETS also believes the activities of New Oriental affects the validity of Chinese students' GRE and TOEFL test scores.

The company claims widespread dissemination of confidential test questions has led some American universities to doubt the authenticity of test scores from China, thereby harming the scholarship prospects of Chinese students.

It believes legal action will help restore American universities' confidence in Chinese students.

Source: China Daily

People's Daily Online ---