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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Comment by mutantsushi
by mutantsushi on Tue 10th Apr 2012 14:19 UTC
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Well, I think this case is really interesting, because it's a case of a fairly well established industry, based on written word copyright (+images), trying to push beyond that... Essentially it sounds like they are looking for the equivalent of software patents, an industry which also benefits from copyright of exact code, but also can prevent competitors from attempting to do 'the same job' in a different manner.

What I would like to know is: do these different big publishers THEMSELVES sometimes choose images of 'similar categories' (e.g. bears eating fish) to illustrate concepts (when the choice of image category is somewhat arbitrary and not a direct association of the concept to be illustrated)? If so, they are either in violation of copyright themself, or that line of attack is simply illegitamate. At any rate, if the images in question DO illustrate the concept, I can't see how one can limit usage of that image category since describing nature/science/the world as it is (as the picture represents) is completely legit, outside of 1984.

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