A lawsuit alleging that educational software company Levings Learning LLC used copyright-protected content in its products without permission has been dropped, though the allegations continue.

Zane Publishing Inc., a Texas-based educational CD-ROM provider, dropped the lawsuit it had filed Dec. 24 against the Oklahoma-based company and its owner, Kenton Levings.

In its lawsuit, Zane Publishing had claimed that a substantial number of the questions and answers contained in Levings Learning’s web-based assessment tool, PASS Plan, were taken directly from Zane’s educational CD-ROMs without permission.

Zane’s chief executive, Stewart Cross, said his firm dropped its lawsuit because another software publisher, Clearvue of Chicago, actually holds the copyright for the material alleged to have been stolen from Zane’s software.

Zane has a licensing agreement with Clearvue to use this content, but ultimately it is Clearvue’s responsibility to take the steps necessary to protect its copyright, Cross said.

Clearvue CEO Mark Ventling would not say whether his company intends to take any legal action against Levings Learning.

Levings said he was pleased that Zane dropped the lawsuit and was not aware of any intentions by Clearvue to refile the suit. In a telephone interview with eSchool News before the suit was dismissed, he called Zane’s allegations “flat-out false lies.”

Another lawsuit against Levings Learning continues to move forward. The plaintiffs in this suit are venture capitalists who invested $1.3 million in Levings Learning and claim they were defrauded because Levings told them he had properly licensed his company’s educational content.

Levings says the dispute, which he calls “unfounded,” will not impact the company’s nearly 500 school customers.

“Allegations … that Levings has intentionally and knowingly misappropriated intellectual property from other sources in violation of protected copyrights, or intentionally and knowingly made false statements regarding Levings’ rights to use such materials, are simply false,” he said in a Jan. 12 statement.

“Levings Learning believes these lawsuits are without merit and will continue to defend itself against these claims as well as aggressively prosecute its counterclaims against some of the investors. At times, these lawsuits can be disruptive to the continuing business of Levings Learning, but we pledge to continue providing our customers with uninterrupted service and product enhancements to meet their needs.”

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Levings Learning LLC

Zane Interactive Publishing