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Patent Granted on Mandatory Digital Keys to Prevent Textbook Piracy 168

First time accepted submitter discussM tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"
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Patent Granted on Mandatory Digital Keys to Prevent Textbook Piracy

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  • Profs and books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:03PM (#40290903)

    They ought to ask how many professors bought all the textbooks they required as students, and never used photocopies.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:08PM (#40290933)

    ...Free and Open textbooks for all their courses.

    School is PURELY a financial transaction, but schools want to fuck their customers good and hard. (I found working in a community college highly educational.) They want to make programs fit available funding, and Pell Grant farming is standard.

    The profits made on books are calculated as part of the profit of each program. They are NOT provided by the school book store as a convenience, unless you consider anal rape convenient.

  • Course fees? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SurfaceMount ( 749329 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:10PM (#40290947)

    Whatever happened to just charging a fee for attending the course?
    Stop trying to make extra money through textbook "upsells". Be upfront and honest by charging the book fee as part of the upfront course fees and give each student a copy.

  • by khipu ( 2511498 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:38PM (#40291115)

    There are plenty of good, free and low-cost textbooks, and many professors use them.

    But, given that students are willing to pay tens of thousands per year to go to college in the first place, a few hundreds dollars in books hardly make a big difference.

  • by k(wi)r(kipedia) ( 2648849 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:42PM (#40291141)

    No teacher would make financial payments linked to grades.

    That's a very rosy view of the academe you have there. Let me guess, you went to an expensive university where the teachers' salaries are high enough that students' grades are non-"negotiable".

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @10:52PM (#40291615)
    It has, the classroom method for instruction and knowledge is dead. It died when the internet came about. The thing is though, college is not about instruction it is about getting a piece of paper to get hired (or an experience).

    Just about every single skill can be learned for free online. Want to know about British history? Identify Roman coins? Learn C#? You can find that for free online. Unless you have a degree though, chances are you aren't going to make it past the first round of screening HR does.
  • by similar_name ( 1164087 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:03PM (#40291687)

    They think we live in fairy land

    I think they live in a fairy land. From the summary.

    ...enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge.

    The idea that protecting copyright helps encourage the creation process is at least a valid idea. However I don't see any way that restricting the ability to copy that knowledge somehow helps disseminate it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @12:45AM (#40292289)

    You don't go to a four-year college to learn a skill... if that's what you're after, you're missing the point.

    Everything I've seen in open course ware teaches introductory material at most. Yes, you can learn C# on-line. But knowing a language and knowing how to work in a team or make high quality software come only through doing it. You can go through a trial by fire by working with an open source project, or go to a university and have a professor facilitate a project, evaluating you along the way and correcting your misconceptions before it's too late.

    University isn't about sticking around for four years and then "knowing how to program". It's about developing higher-order thinking skills, intuition, professional interpersonal skills, and the ability to accurately evaluate oneself and others. The classroom method is dead because professors don't give a damn about teaching students these sorts of things anymore. The Internet had nothing to do with it.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham