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Free Law Casebook Project Starts With IP Coursebook 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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Free Law Casebook Project Starts With IP Coursebook

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  • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • I would think that citing case law would more useful?
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @06:50PM (#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 []

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

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:21PM (#47762111) Homepage

    Creative Commons licensed university course books. You mean like these? [] 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?

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

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

  • ... really!

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