Udemy, one of the largest sites for online learning, and that also raised $65m in investment back in June, has come under fire for selling courses that contain pirated content from other courses.
The site allows people to upload training materials and then charge Udemy users, of which there are more than seven million, for access.
But several experts and academics have expressed anger at finding their courses uploaded to the site and offered up for sale, without their permission.
Udemy found itself facing criticism from a number of different fronts last week when several researchers looked and found that the site was selling pirated versions of courses they had created. One of them, Troy Hunt, a security researcher found that a video he had created for company Pluralsight was being used as part of a Udemy course without his knowledge.
Udemy have responded to the allegations and criticism that they were selling pirated versions of online courses in a blog post:
“We take intellectual property rights seriously and act quickly to remove content when we suspect any potential copyright infringement. We stand by our process and pride ourselves in taking down potentially pirated content within 24 hours of notification.”
One of the main questions that many commentators that has been asked over the Udemy debacle is what happened to all the money, and specifically, Troy Hunt’s?Udemy’s CEO Dennis Yang answered that question, and others, in the same blog:
“Many of you have asked about what happened to the money received from Troy’s course. There was none. As the fraudulent instructor had created coupon codes to allow students free access to the course, no money was exchanged in this process.”
Udemy also stated that they take the issue of copyrighted materials very seriously. According to Udemy, on average over 15000 courses are uploaded each year. To date in 2015, there have been 125 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take down notices. Udemy blamed the ‘posters’ of the copied courses as the ‘actions of a few bad actors,’ and that Udemy would review how they deal with suspected copyright infringements after the US Thanksgiving holidays.
“Our escalation team will be meeting after the holiday to review all of our copyright processes, including allowing people who do not have a Udemy account to use our flagging notification system.’
It was unclear if Udemy had made money out of any of the other pirated contents of courses that had been cited by other tech and mainstream news sites, or if the original creators of the courses would be compensated.