Boundless Seeks Court Ruling On Free Online Textbooks
At stake is the future of a free online alternative to expensive college textbooks, says open-source textbook maker.
Tablets Rock On: Education Tech Through The Ages
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Boundless, an online open-source textbook maker being sued by traditional textbook publishers, has asked the judge in its case to rule on whether its current products infringe on the claims.
Boundless has argued that it is being sued for a beta version of its product that is no longer available. Ariel Diaz, founder and CEO of the Boston-based startup, said that "the entire litigation is focused on that one-year-old dead product." A declaratory judgment could limit potential damage to Boundless if the court rules against it in the current case.
The request is the latest move by Boundless in a case brought against it in March 2012 by Pearson Education, Cengage Learning and Macmillan Higher Education. The suit alleges that Boundless copied their intellectual property, specifically the way they organize and present their materials, as well as four other counts. Boundless last June asked the court to dismiss two of the counts, false advertising and unfair competition. In January, the court denied Boundless’ request. In February Boundless asked the court for a jury trial.
Diaz said that its current products are not part of the suit, or any other. Boundless has added features such as flash cards and subject quizzes and interactive study guides not available in print textbooks. He said Boundless had asked the plaintiffs whether they think its current products infringe. "They hadn’t looked at that. But they do believe the old project should impact the future of Boundless," Diaz said.
Counsel for the three publishers was not immediately available for comment.
At stake is the future of a free alternative to many leading textbooks used in college courses, which can cost up to $300 apiece. The high price of college textbooks has created a call for open-source textbooks. Boundless is not the only company attempting to change the market for education textbooks. Its product, however, is designed to map to the chapter outlines of popular textbooks such as Campbell and Reece’s Biology.
Boundless now offers online open-source textbooks in 18 subjects. It has released 18 open textbooks via the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. It says that students on more than 2,000 college campuses are using its texts.
Diaz said that outside of the suit, "things are great." He said the company was continuing to develop new offerings and features such as community study guides.
Attend Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10, and attend the most thorough training on Apple Deployment at the NEW Mac & iOS IT Conference. Use Priority Code DIPR03 by March 9 to save up to $500 off the price of Conference Passes. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 350+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Register for Interop today!
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.