Quick Legal Question (copyright law)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by appleguy123, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. appleguy123, Mar 12, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012

    appleguy123 macrumors 604

    appleguy123

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    #1
    My school has been using tablets in the class for this year, and I've been assigned to write an article for the newspaper about it. Instead of using books this year, they photocopied old text books and have been distributing them as a PDF on the web. This is clearly illegal, right? I want to write about it in the article, but I can't find any precedent to show that this is copyright infringement.

    Can anyone shed some light on this issue for me? I would appreciate it!
     
  2. -aggie-, Mar 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2012
  3. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #3
    Copyright should be abolished. But I could see this being an issue if the wrong fat cat found out.
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #4
  5. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    Schools often have agreements with copyright holders that allow such things to take place. It is unlikely anything illegal is happening.
     
  7. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #7
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #8
    seems like you would be wrong in the OP's case since "copyleft" requires the copyright holder to offer the work under a "copyleft" designation
     
  9. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #9
    the school could request that, in writing. it's quite common with scientific works. i'm not 100% sure on textbooks though.
     
  10. appleguy123 thread starter macrumors 604

    appleguy123

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    #10
    My school went to UPS and had them scan the books. There's no way that any publisher would let their copyrighted works be put online for all to see.

    Look, you can access them for yourself.
     
  11. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #11
    i knew stuff was bad in the US with school funding, but seriously
     
  12. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #12
    It may be unlikely, but definitely still possible that they did request and receive permission to do this.

    B
     
  13. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

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    #13
    while I understand why you might assume that, do you know for a fact that your school didn't contact the publisher for permission?
     
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #14
    I think the upshot here is that you shouldn't write an article claiming the school is doing something illegal based on nothing other than your presumptions.;)
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #15
    Unless you want to be introduced to the school's attorneys. Getting it wrong can be an expensive learning experience.

    You could also just drop a dime on them to the publisher if you really suspect foul play and let their attorney's lead the charge if there is one. They have derper pockets than the school.

    B
     
  16. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Or you could not say anything. This is a school. Funding is tight at this point in time. I value people's education over someone getting their royalties, especially someone who is an overzealous enforcer of said rights.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    I only presented that as an alternative to the OP's original plan of publishing something in the newspaper that might expose them to nasty legal consequences, regardless of the validity of the claims.

    B
     
  18. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #18
    You can justify just about anything by claiming "school funding is tight." Whats next, letting heroin addicts drive the school buses and buying tainted meat for the cafeteria?

    Schools play an important role in society, that of educating young people. What kind of lesson are they teaching kids about respect for the law; other people's property; or the basic honesty involved in simply copying other people's work without permission?

    I suspect that this photocopying is being done by some otherwise well-meaning person who maybe doesn't realize the full implication of what they are doing. I think its important that whoever is responsible be given the chance to reconsider, once they are clearly informed of the unethical (to say the least) nature of photocopying textbooks.

    But more importantly, maybe the community at large needs to take responsibility for the sort of rabid, often ignorant, anti-tax attitudes that leaves school districts having to make a choice between paying teachers salaries and paying for textbooks. Its about damn time some of those Tea Party fools see where their nonsense leads.
     
  19. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #19
    Time for some investigative reporting, I'd say.
     
  20. Naimfan Suspended

    Naimfan

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    #20
    Easy.

    Meet with the teacher(s) who did it, and ask if they had permission. If they don't know, talk to the principal, and if they don't know, talk to the school board's staff counsel.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to say anything about possible copyright infringement based on the facts you provided.
     
  21. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #21
    Obviously you don't know if they got permission from the publishers to use PDF versions of their book. However, if they had, you would think that the publisher would have supplied an eBook rather than getting the school to make copies themselves. Also, I'm pretty sure that even with permission the publishers would want their books on a open website.

    Again, you don't know for sure, but I'd say it's highly likely that the publishers don't know what your school is up to.
     
  22. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #22
    Even where permission to copy material has been granted, I highly doubt it would allow for posting the copied works on a publicly available website. In Canada, there are provisions for copying for private use, and licensed copy shops can copy more, provided they track copies and collect royalties on them.

    Something like this would never fly up here.
     

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