Harvard bookstore confused about intellectual property rights

Just a quick note to draw attention to a very curious intellectual property issue that has come up at Harvard recently.In a collaborative op-ed posted today in the Harvard Crimson, I read about a student who was asked to leave the Coop, Harvard’s bookstore. His offense? Writing down the values of price tags for his textbooks. The bookstore claimed that he was violating their intellectual property rights.Apparently, this is not the first such incident, as the Coop recently called the police on students for copying ISBNs and other data for Crimson Reading, an alternative textbook resource for Harvard students which raises money for charity.I won’t go into further details, because the op-ed gives a fantastic analysis of the relevant copyright issues, but it seemed worth calling attention to here, where so many of us are concerned with the ongoing border dispute at the edge of copyright law, particularly since this case explicitly involves an educational institution.[Thanks to Boing Boing for bringing this to my attention.]

Brad Weikel

Brad Weikel received his MA in Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) from Georgetown University in 2009. His thesis, "From Coding to Community: Iteration, Abstraction, and Open Source Software Development" argued that programming practices, particularly iterative workflows and abstraction models, can help explain both the success and struggles of open source software. His work was a technocentric complement to prior explanations from economists, lawyers, and political and cultural theorists. While writing his thesis, Brad blogged about his topic at OpenCulture.cc, where he has since continued blogging, more broudly, about collaborative production and the commons at large. Brad was Managing Editor of gnovis during the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 school years, and Creative Director in 2006/2007. He is currently the Web & Communications Coordinator for EarthRights International.