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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The entire issue would resolve itself if the student loans could be defaulted on. Suddenly the companies pushing the loans would re-evaluate whether a 4 year degree in some unmarketable wishy-washy area was actually worth financing to the tune of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and schools would have to contain costs in general with fewer loans being handed out.

But never fear, these loans will follow you right through bankruptcy, so don't expect this to be resolved any time soon - it's not like the loan companies are going to push for reform, and between those companies and students, you can guess who gives more in donations to the politicians making the laws. (And no, I never had student loans, but the structure of the system is just an unbelievable con...)

As for the textbooks, no problem if the profs would just give the assignments with actual topics instead of pages or chapters, though then you better hope your open text covers everything the teacher is looking for - but it's certainly possible if the teachers were on-board with reducing the cost of texts, particularly texts in areas where the subject matter hasn't changed or changes very infrequently.

And then you'd have no copyright issues, and this company could make its own original works instead of whatever it is they think they're doing which does sound awfully like something that would get you kicked out of school if you did it on papers you were submitting for a grade.

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bhtooefr Member since:

I went to a local tech college to get a 2-year degree, and one thing that some of the instructors did (because a lot of the students were low-income) was print out handouts, and structure the class such that you could work from just the handouts if you paid attention (they acted as an outline, plus all assignments were out of the handouts instead of the book), so that you didn't need the assigned textbook unless you had trouble following along in class.

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tidux Member since:

The reason that loan companies are terrified about being able to default on student loans is that they can't repossess an education - the popular phrase at the time of the "reform" passing was "moral hazard." Why that same logic doesn't get applied to banks I'll never know.

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