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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I'm genuinely concerned....
by SeanParsons on Sun 8th Apr 2012 21:59 UTC
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I find it concerning that the issue everyone keeps going back to is general order and layout being a possible infringement for textbooks. I have written an instructors manual for LWW and I'm currently under contract to do some work for Cengage. Textbooks on various subjects have a specific order that information should be presented in for them to make sense.

I am just completing an open source pharmacy math book unrelated to any of my work with publishers, and while I've used original wording, I am limited on how specific medications should be dosed, various mathematical principles, and even limitations as to where I can obtain certain charts that are in the public domain. But beyond all that I need to teach simpler fundamental concepts prior to more complex concepts, therefor there are some similarities in the order I present my information for students when compared to other books on the subject.

Where does the line get drawn as far as structure goes. The idea that a book needs to present a concept, give a demonstration of said concept, provide a practice problem and then has a collection of related homework problems seems reasonable to me, but what do these publishers think?

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