A pair of Quebec parents is taking legal action after their children’s art teacher allegedly listed their children’s art for sale online without their knowledge.
The parents sent a letter through a bailiff on Tuesday to their kids’ teacher, Mario Perron, and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) to demand $350,000 in compensation for alleged intellectual property breaches, a formal apology and for the art to be removed from the online websites.
Last Thursday, CTV News reported that students at Westwood Junior High School in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Lazare learned their art was posted online when they searched their teacher’s name on Google.
“The items, priced between 30USD and 120USD, were used without the consent of their creators, in bad faith, and in violation of all laws related to the intellectual property of an artist. Nothing authorized Mr. Perron to appropriate the work of his students for personal gains. This act is even more egregious as it stems from the use of material created by students in a school setting, under authority, and sold with impunity at high prices,” the demand letter alleged.
The legal notice was sent on behalf of parents Joel DeBellefeuille and Edith Liard and was addressed to the LBPSB chair and commissioner.
Darren Becker, a spokesperson for the school board, confirmed in an email to CTV News that it received the letter and that it “has subsequently been sent to the school board’s insurance company so we have nothing else to add at this time.”
The parents have threatened to take the matter to court if the teacher and the board do not pay them the damages being sought and comply with the other demands within five days.
DeBellefeuille told CTV News that he was shocked when his 13-year-old son came home from school last week and told him that he found a portrait another student had painted of him in class had been posted online with a price tag of $151.
That drawing, along with those by several other students, appeared on multiple items listed for sale, including coffee mugs, t-shirts, yoga mats, and iPhone cases. As of Tuesday, the students’ art is still listed for sale on the teacher’s website.
The school board said in an email last week that it had opened an administrative investigation into the incident and that it “is taking these allegations very seriously.”
Several attempts to reach the teacher last week were unsuccessful. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
This is a developing story that will be updated.