MySchool lookalike beats off govt legal action

The Federal Government’s has failed in its bid to shut down a report similar to the My Schools website after lawyers found the move lacks legal grounding.

Melbourne entrepreneur and director of AustraliaSchoolRanking.com, Stephen James Vassil ,was issued a letter last week by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) demanding the site stop selling its $97 Australia School Ranking report or face legal reprimand.

Vassil angrily refuted claims by ACARA that it the site is misleading customers and that the report contains fallacious data.

He told Computerworld the report is “100 per cent accurate and well researched” and he would consider legal advice after comparisons were made between his legal scuffle and a court ruling earlier this month between Sensis and Local Directories.

The ruling affirmed that factual databases, such as a telephone directory, residential listings or event schedules, are not covered by copyright law and therefore can be duplicated by anybody, including commercial competitors.

Legal experts said the legal grounds for Vassil’s case were unclear, but warned that the limitations of copyright protection of factual databases was not set in stone, noting that the Telstra v Local Directories case may still be appealed to a panel of judges.

Vassil said he will revamp the site to include new features, cheaper condensed report, and free content for parents.

“We have been given the green light from our legal people. We now know that what we are doing in value, availability and content is completely within the law,” Vassil said.

“We have sent the ACARA a letter detailing this.”

The AustraliaSchoolRanking report provides “an interpretation” of data from the national literacy and numeracy tests, according to Vassil, that is not available in a condensed format.

The ACARA has said it took action in order to “manage the correct interpretation of [My Schools] data”, but was not available for comment today, citing preparation for the national school curriculum.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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