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Local News

OSD 308 Board votes to settle copyright infringement lawsuit

District will pay author $12,000

The Oswego School District 308 Board of Education voted 5-2 Monday, April 8, to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against the district by Dr. Keith F. Bell, a sports psychologist and author.

Under terms of the settlement agreement, the district will pay Bell $12,000.

Board Secretary Jared Ploger, and board member Brent Lightfoot cast negative votes on the motion to approve the settlement agreement.

Bell, author of the book "Winning isn't Normal," sued the district after a district coach retweeted a screenshot of an excerpt from Bell's book that did not give appropriate credit to the author. The original tweet was made by a baseball coach from Northeastern State University, located in Oklahoma.

Bell first asserted a claim of copyright infringement when he contacted the district on Dec. 26, according to the settlement agreement.

According to a description of the book, taken from the website winningisntnormal.weebly.com, "This timeless bestseller motivates the reader to do what it takes to win and to make the pursuit of excellence fun. Comprised of short easily-read and easily-applied sections, this book bursts with wisdom in order to prepare the reader for optimal performance, taking charge, creating a winning environment, un-limiting, and more. The strategies are readily applied to any sport, as well as business, performing arts, or most any endeavor."

The passage seen in the tweet, referred to as the "WIN Passage," describes the steps and attitude that an athlete must take in order to win a game or event.

The settlement agreement was placed on the board's meeting agenda as an action item. While there was no discussion on the settlement agreement, Ploger commented, "I want Mr. Bell to be aware, at least somewhere in public record, to know that he is indirectly hurting our kids, and I'm sorry that a fellow educator would do that," in reference to the district's ongoing financial difficulties.

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