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Art Teacher and School Board Face a Brush with the Law


April 8, 2024

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Upon discovering approximately 3,000 pieces of their children’s artwork for sale online without consent, a group of parents in Quebec have threatened legal action against a junior high school art teacher and the Lester B. Pearson School Board for $1.4 million.


The teacher allegedly reproduced the students’ original “creepy portraits” of their classmates on various items such as mugs, canvases, cushions, decorations, and bags and listed them on fineartamerica.com for prices ranging from $30 to $120 USD.


The parents allege their children’s artwork was “used without the consent of their creators, in bad faith, and in violation of all laws related to the intellectual property of an artist.”


The context through which the material emerged – a classroom setting – compounded by the authoritative position of the teacher and high prices of the items to profit off the children’s artwork allegedly exacerbated the egregiousness of the act, according to the parents’ demand letter. As a result, in addition to damages, the parents seek removal of their children’s artwork from the platform, the teacher’s suspension and a letter of apology.


The school board issued a statement in response to the matter.

 

Authors: Ayesha Khanna and Kasia Donovan

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