The Sacramento Bee reports that the founder and operator of NoteUtopia.com, a website functioning as a kind of eBay-like marketplace for (among other things) student class notes, has received a cease-and-desist letter from the Cal State U. Chancellor’s office, informing him that the website violates a state education code section that prohibits anyone from selling or disseminating “academic presentations” for commercial purposes, including handwritten class notes. And in a move that surely will have the effect of driving traffic numbers at the site through the roof, all students at the 23 CSU campuses were sent an e-mail warning them that they faced discipline or expulsion for selling class notes through NoteUtopia or by any other means.
Apparently, the law in question was enacted in 2000 at the behest of the California Faculty Association to prevent students from disseminating class notes. I would think it would be subject to a serious challenge under the First Amendment, though the Supreme Court’s decisions providing lowered protections for “commercial speech” might enable the statute to survive the “intermediate scrutiny” that it would likely receive in court.
[Thanks to Justin Gordon for the pointer] […]