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.
Thread beginning with comment 513215
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by zhuravlik
by zhuravlik on Sun 8th Apr 2012 07:02 UTC
zhuravlik
Member since:
2009-08-24

If I open a Wikipedia article, there's very strong possibility that this article cites one of the major textbooks on subject printed by a major publisher.

There's also a possibility that this article borrows the key ideas and sometimes even an artistic spirit from the original book.

And this is not a bad thing, because sometimes there's no another good way to describe things. Also, collecting the best ideas from the best books in one place is even better.

But trying to replace the original books with the books based on articles based on ideas borrowed from the original books is a really strange thing to do.

I think that the money spent to such work instead should be directed to the founding of the new publishing house which provides both printed books and CC-licensed eBooks on the same subject. No-one will disregard good printed books, even if he has their free electronic copies.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by zhuravlik
by Luminair on Mon 9th Apr 2012 03:34 in reply to "Comment by zhuravlik"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

yeah this is just stupid machinations tripping over stupid machinations. if thought was free from crime like it should be, we wouldn't waste zillions on policing it.

the capitalists should believe that bad copies won't survive in the wild, and good copies deserve success if they can replace their progenitor. nah dawg

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by zhuravlik
by mrstep on Tue 10th Apr 2012 05:37 in reply to "Comment by zhuravlik"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

And this is not a bad thing, because sometimes there's no another good way to describe things. Also, collecting the best ideas from the best books in one place is even better.


I'd be curious as to how many of those descriptions were honed by the publishers over the years vs. how many they just copied. It's possible that some of the 'no other good way' cases are because it was refined into a good explanation. Then again, maybe not, which is why it would be interesting to see some examples of things that can't be explained in other ways. Guess the trial should offer some of that.

Using bears to explain energy seems like something other than the "best" way, and copying it sounds a lot like... copying.

But if a number of schools got together to make an 'open' series of textbooks and got them broadly used, preferably in electronic format, this whole issue would be moot. They could certainly actually pay people to work on that project and NOT have issues of copyright infringement, though the big publishers still wouldn't be happy.

Then again, I had enough professors who happened to be the authors of their textbooks (in one case going so far as to make us buy photocopies of the rough draft of an upcoming textbook which both cost as much as the real book AND had no value for selling back), so presumably some of the educators are profiting from the status quo of limited publishers and limited options for the students.

Reply Parent Score: 1