For some professors, and especially the publishing industry, “education” is more about money and control than knowledge and learning.
For centuries, students have shared textbooks with each other, but a new patent aims to stop this “infringing” habit.
The patent in question was granted to Professor of Economics Joseph Henry Vogel. He believes that piracy, lending and reselling of books is a threat to the publishing industry.
“Professors are increasingly turning a blind eye when students appear in class with photocopied pages. Others facilitate piracy by placing texts in the library reserve where they can be photocopied,” Vogel writes.
The result is less money for publishers, and fewer opportunities for professors like himself to get published. With Vogel’s invention, however, this threat can be stopped.
The idea is simple. 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.
Students who don’t pay can’t participate in the course and therefore get a lower grade.
The system ensures that students can’t follow courses with pirated textbooks, as tens of thousands are doing today. Lending books from a library or friend, or buying books from older students, isn’t allowed either. At least, not when the copyright holders don’t get their share.