Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 7th Apr 2012 17:52 UTC
Legal Rage-inducing and despicable. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, three major textbook publishers, Pearson, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education, are suing a small startup company that produces open and free alternative textbooks. This startup, Boundless Learning, builds textbooks using creative commons licensed and otherwise freely available material - and this poses a threat to the three large textbook publishers. So, what do you do when you feel threatened? Well, file a copyright infringement lawsuit, of course.
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Dangerously grey ...
by MacTO on Sat 7th Apr 2012 18:52 UTC
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This sounds dangerously close to a grey area.

They may not be violating the letter of copyright law as it stands today, the description makes it sound like they are creating textbooks with little creative input on the content or structure. Rather, they are finding content that reflects the content of existing textbooks and piecing it together in a way the reflects the structure of existing textbooks. Even though the content used doesn't violate copyright law, the use of that content doesn't violate copyright law, and even following a similar structure doesn't violate copyright law the open textbook definitely sounds derivative.

It would have been far wiser for the publishers of these open textbooks to use creative commons licensed materials to create higher quality textbooks than the material that they are derived from instead of using those materials to create derivatives of existing products.

At any rate, this is something best decided by a sober court of law than publishers or arm-chair commentators.

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