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Free Law Casebook Project Starts With IP Coursebook

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the good-way-to-start dept.

Education 22

An anonymous reader writes Duke Law School's James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins just published a CC licensed, freely downloadable textbook called "Intellectual Property Law and the Information Society." (Which includes a discussion of whether and when the term "intellectual property" is a dangerous misnomer). The book is apparently part of an attempt to lower what the authors describe as the "obscene cost" of legal textbooks. "This is the first in a series of free digital/low cost print legal educational materials to be published by Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain—starting with statutory supplements aimed at the basic classes. The goal of this project... is to improve the pricing and access norms of the world of legal textbook publishing, while offering the flexibility and possibility for customization that unfettered digital access provides. We hope it will provide a pleasant, restorative, competitive pressure on the commercial publishers to lower their prices and improve their digital access norms." The book's "problems range from a video of the Napster oral argument to counseling clients about search engines and trademarks, applying the First Amendment to digital rights management and copyright or commenting on the Supreme Court's new rulings on gene patents.. [The book] includes discussions of such issues as the Redskins trademark cancelations, the Google Books case and the America Invents Act."

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Renting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47760945)

Or we could just rent them, like from Amazon. Instead of having government intervene. I know it's hard to resist the urge....

which is fine light reading, but not a reference (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 months ago | (#47760947)

you can't cite this book in a courtroom, because it's not a recognized reference. those are achingly reviewed and certified by state (or federal, as the case applies) courts.

Re:which is fine light reading, but not a referenc (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761393)

The government should just hire experts to write public domain books. Enough of this corporate welfare bullshit.

Re: which is fine light reading, but not a referen (3, Informative)

jmuf (1333083) | about 2 months ago | (#47761611)

You can certainly cite the book in court, but the court does not have to recognize it as binding authority. It can effectively treat the material as informative.

Re: which is fine light reading, but not a referen (1)

jamesmusik (2629975) | about 2 months ago | (#47761713)

No book is ever "certified" by any court. Only statutes, regulations, and case law have any binding effect on courts. Some treatises are so authoritative that they are cited and considered highly persuasive. But there are no (or at least very few) case books that are treated this way. That's simply not what case books are for. They are for teaching in law school. They mostly consist of cases with some commentary and questions or problems for discussion.

Re:which is fine light reading, but not a referenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762745)

you can't cite this book in a courtroom, because it's not a recognized reference. those are achingly reviewed and certified by state (or federal, as the case applies) courts.

Given it's not a "free" book as it has the NC portion, you probably don't want to cite it lest you actually violate the NC part.

It's one of the more thornier areas of the CC license and I just wish they'd toss ND and NC as options already as they're not really Free anymore and not really in the spirit of the Creative Commons in offering Free works. I understand the motivation, but really, NC and ND are just ways of disguising "all rights reserved" traditional copyright under a "copyleft" banner.

I mean, you're not supposed to make money with it (hence NC) so if you're a lawyer and you cite it, you could be found in violation since you're making money (your job) off that work. Just like how hosting NC works on your website can be violating it as well, if you serve ads.

Re:which is fine light reading, but not a referenc (1)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 2 months ago | (#47763243)

While I agree that NC is generally misunderstood by lay licensors, and greatly more restrictive than most people realise, ND has a valuable place in the licensing suite.
For example, if you write an opinion piece, adding the ND clause will make sure that no-one can (legitimately) alter or distort the text, and use it to misrepresent the position you hold/held.

Otherwise, using ND for non-opinion works shows a certain amount of arrogance. It's effectively proclaiming "no one but myself could possibly make this any better".

Re:which is fine light reading, but not a referenc (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47765095)

While I agree that NC is generally misunderstood by lay licensors, and greatly more restrictive than most people realise, ND has a valuable place in the licensing suite.
For example, if you write an opinion piece, adding the ND clause will make sure that no-one can (legitimately) alter or distort the text, and use it to misrepresent the position you hold/held.

Otherwise, using ND for non-opinion works shows a certain amount of arrogance. It's effectively proclaiming "no one but myself could possibly make this any better".

Not really. Because even the most restrictive copyright (traditional "All Rights Reserved") still has people routinely distort and misrepresent your position. It's called "creative editing" - and it can change the meaning completely.

If people want to misrepresent you, they're going to, regardless of if you use ND or full copyright. And no, just because it's on the web doesn't mean it's not under full copyright - the author can legitimately post an opinion piece completely copyrighted (see editorials) and be freely readable. It's under copyright, so no one can legitimately alter or distort the text.

Oh, but you say what about fair comment and all the other fair use rules? Guess what? They apply to CC works too because just like copyleft, it relies on copyright law to specify the minimum rights everyone has, including fair use, satire, etc. CC and other copyleft simply grant more rights than copyright would've so you can ignore the CC license just fine, you'll just be held to a more restrictive agreement.

ND doesn't solve anything. It probably makes it worse since it just means your work gets copied everywhere, whereas full copyright means your online post is the only legitimate one and people should link to that as the original source piece. Those who would just re-host it and violate copyright law will continue to do so, regardless of "All Rights Reserved" or CC.

Re:which is fine light reading, but not a referenc (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 months ago | (#47762795)

I would think that citing case law would more useful?

The most impressive part of the book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761043)

Is the part that was *not* anywhere in the book (at least, i couldn't find it in either the front or back sections):

This work is intended for educational use only. It does not constitute professional legal advice, and cannot cover all relevant case law or local statutes that may apply in any particular case. For specific legal counsel, consult an attorney. Neither the authors, nor the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, nor Duke Law School, nor Duke University are responsible for actual or incidental damages, or for damages representing foregone or missed opportunities as a result of using the information and/or advice presented in this work.

Re:The most impressive part of the book (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 months ago | (#47761639)

is that Duke is not responsible for anything/ever.

The casebook method. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47761091)

Which includes a discussion of whether and when the term "intellectual property" is a dangerous misnomer

The casebook is meant to illustrate how judicial thinking and case law has evolved over time.

It doesn't editorialize.

A typical example in the law of contracts is Hadley v Baxendale (1854).
Textbooks for students earning non-legal degrees concisely state the famous rules announced in that case that

(1) consequential damages are limited to those foreseen by the parties at the time of contracting, implying that
(2) a party must notify the other up front of its specific needs in order to expand what is mutually foreseeable and thereby recover consequential damages if the other breaches.

Thus stated, Hadley seems simple enough, but a casebook for a law school course will not say that. Rather, the law student must deduce those principles from the text of the Court of Exchequer's slightly archaic mid-19th-century decision.

This teaching method differs in two ways from the teaching methods used in most other academic programs:

(1) it requires students to work almost exclusively with primary source material which is often written in obscure or obsolete language; and
(2) a typical American law school class is supposed to be a dialogue about the meaning of a case, not a straightforward lecture.

Casebook method [wikipedia.org]

When the casebook becomes the lecture. it is not doing its job.

Do you mean like this? (3, Interesting)

matbury (3458347) | about 2 months ago | (#47762111)

Creative Commons licensed university course books. You mean like these? http://aupress.ca/ [aupress.ca] You can download and print the whole book, or chapter by chapter as you study. How long do you think it'll take for Duke to catch up with Athabasca University?

Re:Do you mean like this? (1)

Badger Nadgers (2423622) | about 2 months ago | (#47768823)

Thanks for the link.

In some quarters (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47762371)

There's a "legal cost" of obscene textbooks.

Written from a local USA perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762665)

Written from a local USA perspective, again, as always. As always the USA is attacking without understanding the material beyond USA reality, whether a country or a book subject.

Written from a local USA perspective (1)

jamesmusik (2629975) | about 2 months ago | (#47762739)

What perspective should a case book for use in US law schools use?

Re: Written from a local USA perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47763299)

The subject is not the USA for once but IP which, today, is international by nature.

Re: Written from a local USA perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47765171)

The subject is not the USA for once but IP which, today, is international by nature.

That's absolutely silly, the vast majority of the people using this book will never be able to practice internationally, it's an amazing amount of work to be able to do so. Law practiced in almost every courtroom in the US will rely on US laws, statutes, and case law.

Reversed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47763141)

They apply their fascist ip delusions to the 1st Amendment. GIVE UP MOAR RIGHTS

ALL side talk is a head fake

IPv6 too? (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 months ago | (#47763803)

An IP casebook, finally we'll get some lawyers and judges who know computers and the internet!

Nice initiative ... (1)

fygment (444210) | about 2 months ago | (#47764437)

... really!

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