Stephen E. Arnold: Free Law Textbooks — and the Fight to Liberate Intellectual Property Law from Entrenched Corporations with Armed with Lobbyists

03 Economy, 09 Justice, IO Impotency
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Free Law Textbooks Challenge Copyright Maximalism

August 28, 2014

The article titled Duke Professor Looking To Make Legal Texts Affordable; Kicking Off With Intellectual Property Law on Techdirt refers to the work of James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins. Both work in the Center of the Study of Public Domain at Duke Law School and hoped to mitigate the prices of textbooks for college students. They have already released their Intellectual Property Statutory Supplement (free to download, about $10 to print). They are quoted in the article,

“We are motivated in part by the outrageously steep cost of legal teaching materials, (and the increasing restrictions on those materials — such as the removal of the right of first sale). This book is intended for use with our forthcoming Intellectual Property casebook (coming in the Fall) but can also be used as a free or low cost supplement for basic Intellectual Property courses — at the college, law school or graduate school levels.”

The book that this supplement is basically equivalent costs more than $50. This may not come as a surprise to more recent college graduates, who often shell out hundreds of dollars (per semester!) for required textbooks in addition to the ever-growing rates of tuition. The article notes that this is a part of the danger of copyright maximalism, which Thomas Macaulay warned against as far back as his famous 1841 speech because it would lead to utter disregard of the law. To Jenkins and Boyle, we can only say: good luck.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 28, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Phi Beta Iota: There are at least three major fights going one, between Amazon and the publishers, between Google and the libraries, and between the public interest and all entrenched interests from the Industrial Era characterized by the fencing of the commons and the criminalization of sharing. Hidden between the lines at the NYC and other data hacking challenges are all three fights — between the urgency of liberating information to be shared for common benefit, and the desperate attempts of data “landlords” to continue extracting value instead of creating value.

See Also:

Big Data @ Phi Beta Iota

Corruption @ Phi Beta Iota

Intellectual Property @ Phi Beta Iota