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Piracy Education

Latvian Police Raid Teacher's Home for Uploading $4.00 Textbook 289

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-officer-per-dollar dept.
richlv writes "Latvian police recently raided the home of a history teacher and confiscated his computer. The crime? Scanning a history book and making it available on his website covering various topics on history. The raid was based on a complaint from the publisher (Google Translate to English), which has a near-monopoly on educational materials in Latvia, often linked with shady connections in the Ministry of Education."
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Latvian Police Raid Teacher's Home for Uploading $4.00 Textbook

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:12PM (#43778681)

    and in the us the same book will be $200-$400 updated 1-2 times a year.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:15PM (#43778691)

    textbook publishers use all kinds of BS to keep there monopoly on educational materials in place.

    • by jones_supa (887896) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @12:57AM (#43779025)

      textbook publishers use all kinds of BS to keep there monopoly on educational materials in place.

      I'm not sure. When in Finland these teachers had the over-the-weekend marathon to create a math textbook and put it into Github, they commented that they might as well release it for free, as the profit they get from books is always so small anyway. And, in increasing amounts you can read high-quality material for free from the intertubez, further shaking the position of commercially published books.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        textbook publishers use all kinds of BS to keep there monopoly on educational materials in place.

        I'm not sure. When in Finland these teachers had the over-the-weekend marathon to create a math textbook and put it into Github, they commented that they might as well release it for free, as the profit they get from books is always so small anyway

        Do note that author != publisher... [in the very most cases]

        • by MickLinux (579158)

          Do note that in most contracts, if (author != publisher) author= publisher; That is, authorship is assignod to the publisher, as author-at-law, without various risks that still remain with the person who did the work.

          You have to remember that these books have far more authors than the headline authors, and although the headline authors might have a pretty good contract, the others won't.

        • by Salgak1 (20136)

          Actually, this is BEGINNING to change, but it will be QUITE some time before it shows up in academic publishing.

          In Fiction, there are quite a few authors who primarily e-publish fiction and sell through Amazon and Barnes&Noble. and are making, if not megabucks, at least decent earnings (one author I'm personally familiar with has made in excess of US$ 100K this way. . . )

          Kristine Kathryn Rusch [kriswrites.com] often blogs on the topic. . . .

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        They can write all they want, it probably won't help. Good and cheap materials have been available for long time, but they can't be used in school.

        Public school curricula are chosen by committees and government bodies who make sure that people are taught "properly", in conformance with government-approved ideology and content. This choice includes awarding textbook to a small cadre of publishers who produce government-conforming materials and are guaranteed monopolies. It works that way in the US and much o

      • by DrXym (126579)
        It's not the shortage of teaching material but the fact that it must follow the curriculum. i.e. the state says what students should learn at certain ages and subjects and the course, books and teacher's guide is shaped around it. So typically school books are monopolized by a few publishers which go to the effort to produce suitable books and get them endorsed.

        Anyway I have no problem with that. More insidious however are the constant revisions which render them worthless after a year or two, or even wor

    • by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:45AM (#43779529)

      The publishers didn't get their monopolies by nefarious business practices, they were handed their monopoly by school boards and voters.

      So please point the finger where it needs to be pointed: at school boards and the voters who keep opposing school choice.

  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:16PM (#43778697)
    Doesn't seem like fair use.. seems like blatant copyright infringement. As I learned in Boy Scouts, if you don't like the law, try to have it changed in an orderly manner, rather than disobey it. Failing that, if you're going to break the law, don't get caught.
    • by amiga3D (567632) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:22PM (#43778719)

      I agree. On the other hand the response should be proportional. Uploading a textbook should have involved an officer serving a warrant. A raid and seizing equipment is more in line with a massive copyright ring. This over the top shit is really ridiculous and unwarranted. It's like someone caught jaywalking getting clubbed down, handcuffed, dragged away and thrown in the pokey. Enough with the over reactions already.

      • I agree. On the other hand the response should be proportional. Uploading a textbook should have involved an officer serving a warrant. A raid and seizing equipment is more in line with a massive copyright ring. This over the top shit is really ridiculous and unwarranted. It's like someone caught jaywalking getting clubbed down, handcuffed, dragged away and thrown in the pokey. Enough with the over reactions already.

        This thousand times. Technically uploading the history book was a copyright violation and I yes think it could have been handled in some way, like sending a letter describing "Hello, we noticed that you have some material online that we believe should not be distributed freely". But a police raid, gimme a fucking break! Those idiots should be ridiculed for that. It's not that there was some headquarters of armed criminals.

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          But this is exactly what the copyright lobby wants from law enforcement. Draconian response to the odd incident, which will scare the sheep and keep them in line. How many teachers in that country are going to put textbooks online now?
      • by pantaril (1624521) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @01:49AM (#43779167)

        I agree. On the other hand the response should be proportional. Uploading a textbook should have involved an officer serving a warrant.

        According to later comment from AC from Latvia, the police/publisher warned him several times before raiding his computer.
        Personaly i think this is horrible but the issue is with the copyright law and not with the police course of action.

        • Personaly i think this is horrible but the issue is with the copyright law and not with the police course of action.

          It's with both.

        • According to later comment from AC from Latvia, the police/publisher warned him several times before raiding his computer. Personaly i think this is horrible but the issue is with the copyright law and not with the police course of action.

          It seems that what happened is exactly what should have happened according to copyright laws in all western countries as well. If I get the story right, he copied a book and put it on his website, with the intent that others should download it. If he also was warned about it several times, then it is just inexcusable stupidity to leave the book on his website.

          We have seen lots of cases in the USA where the RIAA got or tried to get huge penalties because of some "making available" theory. This is a case w

      • The publisher should just be suing them without an expensive police raid paid for by the taxpayer.
    • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:25PM (#43778731)
      "educational use" is one of the fair use reasons, but applying US fair use to a Latvian action would be silly. Do they even have fair use in Latvia?
      • Re: Do they even have fair use in Latvia?

        That's a very good point. Someone in Latvia or with knowledge of Latvian law would have to clue us in. I'm sure there's quite a few someones on /. who could tell us. Calling all Latvian programmers (or lawyers, or college students who might know...) !!!

        • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:55PM (#43778849)
          Hi - not Latvian, but a professor (with some little IP education). Generally speaking, "educational use" is not held to mean "so long as it's for education, do whatever you want". Educational use typically means discussion and criticism - using excerpts and passages to demonstrate a particular point, or using an example from a text. If the teacher had used fractions of the book as part of his lessons, he would likely have been covered under fair use provisions in many nations (including the US and Australia, where I teach). Conversely, wholesale duplication of a text is rarely considered fair use in an educational context.
          • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:42AM (#43779843)
            Who actually holds the copyright? When my structural engineering prof wanted to make copies of a textbook for us (which the publisher hadn't reprinted in a decade because they said it wasn't worth it for them), he just called up the author who was a colleague of his. The publisher didn't have exclusive rights, so he got permission from the author to copy it, and had the copy center run off a few dozen copies for us.
      • Latvian citizen here with basic legal knowledge.

        There's no EU-wide "fair use" clause for copyright and nothing quite like it in Latvian law. By the way, the law is officially published on www.likumi.lv in HTML form, a sibling post here links to a doc file at another governmental websites, but while other websites may re-post laws for convenience, it's www.likumi.lv that is official.

        Section 19(1)(2) of the Copyright Law states that there's no copyright violation if copyrighted material is used for educationa

    • It does seem to be copyright infringement, but saying it's deserving of criminal charges is crazy. And unjust law should be ignored if not actively defied.
      • by KGIII (973947)

        Does that mean you should violate the GPL?

        • The GPL is not a law, but if you are ignoring copyright law, then there probably isn't a reason to just honor the GPL. The biggest concern with the GPL would be not allowing someone to freely share their derivative works with the community by enforcing your copyright. You obviously can't do that if you ignore copyright.
          • by KGIII (973947)

            There are all sorts of ways to violate it. I could keep Ubuntu the same, call it anything I wanted, and sell it under that name. Should I do that?

            • by fnj (64210)

              As long as you comply with the terms of the GPL, you can call it chopped liver and charge as much as you want for it. But you have to comply with the terms of the GPL, and one of those terms is that you include the original copyright notice, and that you offer all the source code at no cost beyond reasonable copying charges.

              After all, what do you think Ubuntu does? They take Debian, make some changes, call it something else, and make it available. The "making some changes" part is not magic. You can imagine

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by devloop (983641)
      What a wonderful compliant, obedient little boy the Scouts helped you become!

      I'd prefer my kid to be more defiant and incredulous of authority and status quo,
      and to consider that sometimes great corruption demands extreme measures to
      correct it and sometimes one must disobey and rebel in a disorderly manner.

      Washington, Revere and Franklin would probably make awful little scouts.
    • As I learned in Boy Scouts ... if you're going to break the law, don't get caught

      My nightmares will be filled with visions of boyscout gangs wearing ponchos wielding 20 year old axes tieing up old ladies with second hand climbing rope and mugging them for their pension money.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      As I learned in Boy Scouts, if you don't like the law, try to have it changed in an orderly manner, rather than disobey it

      Rosa Parks would tell you the Boy Scouts are wrong. There are two basic ways to fight a law. One is the orderly manner you hint at, the other is to disobey it, and fight it in the courts.

      • by denzacar (181829)

        Had the Montgomery city fathers made it into an economic issue, e.g. by providing seat reservation for the white passengers and then covering the cost of the reservation through subsidies, making a "white ticket" theoretically more expensive and practically unavailable to black passengers, Rosa Parks would be simply accused of "stealing the seat she didn't pay for", labeled as a thief and that would be it.
        Cause who's gonna boycott and walk instead of riding a bus to support a "thief"?

        • Had the Montgomery city fathers made it into an economic issue, e.g. by providing seat reservation for the white passengers and then covering the cost of the reservation through subsidies, making a "white ticket" theoretically more expensive and practically unavailable to black passengers, Rosa Parks would be simply accused of "stealing the seat she didn't pay for", labeled as a thief and that would be it. Cause who's gonna boycott and walk instead of riding a bus to support a "thief"?

          Mind you, that ticket doesn't provide ownership of that seat, merely a one-time use license.

    • Doesn't seem like fair use.. seems like blatant copyright infringement.

      Copyright infringement! The horror! We need to raid her house!

      As I learned in Boy Scouts, if you don't like the law, try to have it changed in an orderly manner, rather than disobey it.

      Why? There's no point that I see in obeying such laws, and doing so may be harmful in some cases.

    • by waspleg (316038)

      I was a Boy Scout. I don't remember anything prohibiting civil disobedience.

      Martin Luther King Jr. - "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

  • Free protip (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:30PM (#43778757)

    The raid was based on a complaint from the publisher (Google Translate to English), which has a near-monopoly on educational materials in Latvia, often linked with shady connections in the Ministry of Education

    Here's a free protip. Live in a former soviet bloc?

    Are you lacking the skills to be anonymous?

    Is there a monopoly on something?

    Don't challenge it.

    Finis.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:31PM (#43778765)

    All my life I've learned with "pirated" material: throughout school, my teachers copied all kinds of materials regardless of whether or not it was copyrighted - including my primary school teachers hand-copying entire pages of grammar or math books and giving away dittoed copies, photocopies of of all kinds... whatever was necessary to learn. Learning was considered "fair use" when I was young. Nobody in their right mind thought twice before copying something for education purposes.

    Then when I started dabbling in computers, I started "pirating" software all by myself. I knew what I was doing was illegal, yet it didn't feel wrong. I learned C with an illegal copy of Turbo C. I learned CAD with an illegal copy of AutoCAD. I learned everything I know with an illegal copy of something.

    Sure I shafted Borland, AutoDesk and all the others, but then I bet they made a whole lot of money afterwards, when I and all the others like me hit the job market and started using their products professionally - on seats paid by the companies I worked for to the tune of many thousands more than a single user seat.

    I don't know how I would have gotten an education without pirated material. I don't know how kids today get an education if their teachers should fear jail when they use pirated material. What a sorry state society is in...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Yup - same here. As a student, very few of my books were store bought. Most were blatant copies. Since then, as a professional, I have spent enormous amounts on books and software licences. To top it off - my father wrote geography text books and I also wrote a book or two. Over reacting on copyright infringement is crazy and does everybody, the writers included, a disservice.
    • by Nivag064 (904744)

      If you use Linux, and other open source software, you can do a lot of learning and paid work in the software industry without having to pay expensive licences - while still being strictly legal!

      word processor & other office software:
      http://www.libreoffice.org/ [libreoffice.org]

      database:
      http://www.postgresql.org/ [postgresql.org]

      compilers:
      http://gcc.gnu.org/ [gnu.org]

      operating system & sufficient software to do useful things (2 of over 100 offerings, pick one that suites you best!):
      https://fedoraproject.org/ [fedoraproject.org]
      http://www.debian.org/ [debian.org]

      network diagno

    • I noticed that when I was in school. In the mimiograph days, they had free-to-copy texts. When Xerox copiers came out, teachers started making pirate copies in clear violation of the stated terms in the textbooks they were stealing from.
      By this time, I had learned not to always correct the glaring errors that our teachers committed, so I just let it slide.
      If they have onerous restrictions, find a book that doesn't, and teach the publisher to provide useful texts. You can't cheat an honest man.

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      All my life I've learned with "pirated" material: throughout school, my teachers copied all kinds of materials regardless of whether or not it was copyrighted

      In the US, copying excerpts is generally fine, so your teachers probably didn't violate copyright law. In Europe, there are various other mechanisms.

      Sure I shafted Borland, AutoDesk and all the others, but then I bet they made a whole lot of money afterwards, when I and all the others like me hit the job market and started using their products professi

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      Sure I shafted Borland, AutoDesk and all the others, but then I bet they made a whole lot of money afterwards, when I and all the others like me hit the job market and started using their products professionally - on seats paid by the companies I worked for to the tune of many thousands more than a single user seat.

      In the case of software, I think many software companies don't pursue individual or educational piracy for this reason. I had an Architectural Drawing instructor in college say that Autodesk will

  • by superwiz (655733) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:33PM (#43778769) Journal
    Ownership (all ownership) is the right to deny use. This is as true of intellectual property ownership as it is of tangible item ownership. And it's not a bad thing as many will knee jerk to scream. Ownership is a right to treat that which we earn as extensions of our body. If we have a right to deny the use of our bodies, then, by extension, we have a right to deny use of that which we own.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      price tag is irrelavant

      So you're saying the police should come bust down my door and shoot my dog in the face if I walk off with your pencil?

      Don't forget: 'intellectual property' is not real property; otherwise it would be covered under property laws and wouldn't need it's own.

      • So you're saying the police should come bust down my door and shoot my dog in the face if I walk off with your pencil?

        Im pretty sure he did not, in fact, say that. I might suggest you re-read his post.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      I believe the argument against that, however, is that if you are going to ever allow anyone else to see or use what you own, then one should forever forfeit the right to claim any control over it, since one cannot reasonably control what others do with it.
    • by haakoflo (2497300)
      Ownership is a lot more than the right to deny use (and not always the right to deny use), and the "extensions of our body" argument is also flawed. The basis of "ownership" is our territorial instinct. If you move into my land (or speak to my woman), I will knock you in the head with my club. If I didn't do that, I would starve and have no offspring, so all people today descend from more or less territorial forefathers. "Property" is societies attempt at formalizing and rationalizing this instinct. Some
    • by pantaril (1624521)

      Ownership (all ownership) is the right to deny use. This is as true of intellectual property ownership as it is of tangible item ownership

      I agree with you on this, but if you try to deny me the use of copies of your ownership which i made myself, i'm going to ignore you.

    • by tlambert (566799)

      Ownership (all ownership) is the right to deny use. This is as true of intellectual property ownership as it is of tangible item ownership. And it's not a bad thing as many will knee jerk to scream. Ownership is a right to treat that which we earn as extensions of our body. If we have a right to deny the use of our bodies, then, by extension, we have a right to deny use of that which we own.

      It'd be GREAT if intellectual property would be treated as real property!

      Then I could use a patent troll's patent, and if they didn't stop me within some relatively short period of time, I could claim Adverse Possession, at which point I could choose to put it in the public domain. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_possession [wikipedia.org] for how this applies to real property. The point is, if the true owner of the property isn't using it (because trolls do not produce any useful goods or services), and if my

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      Notions of property and a "right to deny use" assume a free market. The problem here is that in public education systems, the use of specific textbooks is mandated, and school attendance is mandatory as well. So, these publishers get handed a monopoly courtesy of the government and you are effectively forced by law to hand over your money to them. Perhaps you can cook up some reason to justify this, but don't justify it with property rights, because those are clearly being violated hered: by the publishers.

  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday May 20, 2013 @11:46PM (#43778815)

    this is practically the definition of willful copyright infringement.
    I wont say the punishment was just, but it should have been expected.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @12:25AM (#43778935)
    It's more than four times the price of a $0.99 song. Throw the ebook at him!
  • someone from Latvia (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @12:46AM (#43778993)

    This story was covered in local TVs. Although I also hate all those copyright guys. But this time its more or less Ok. They warned that guy many times. When he didnt react they went to police.

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