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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RE: Comment by zhuravlik
by mrstep on Tue 10th Apr 2012 05:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by zhuravlik"
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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.

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