Webstrijd om gratis studieboeken

Nieuws | de redactie
4 juli 2008 | Het internet ondergraaft het kartel van academische uitgevers meer en meer. Sites als Textbook Torrents bieden boeken nu gewoon gratis aan als downloads. Zonder de uitgevers hierin te betrekken, die dit dan ook zien als “part of a growing problem of piracy that could potentially threaten their industry.

But the founder of Textbook Torrents calls his actions “civil disobedience” against “the monopolistic business practices” of textbook publishers” aldus the Chronicle.

Op de site ziet mn de eigen rol zo: ‘Overpriced textbooks are a problem for all of us, and the remarkable popularity of the site should send a strong message to anyone with ears to listen. The textbook industry needs to change; it needs to recognize its responsibility to the educational community, not to its own petty interests.

People have definitely started to listen lately, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. Members have been flooding in by the thousands over the last couple of days. (If you’re one of them, welcome to the site!) However, as we saw earlier this week, publishers are also starting to take notice. Since intellectual property holders are notoriously skilled at missing the point, Pearson will probably not be the last publisher to try the brute-force method.’

De oprcihter van de omstreden site is “an undergraduate at a college outside of the United States, though he would not name the institution or country, and that he operates the Web site from there.

His biggest complaint: that textbooks are just too expensive, and that prices climb each year. “We’re showing both students and textbook publishers that this isn’t acceptable anymore,” he said. “A lot of users are absolutely fed up with the system.” He said he views the 64,000 registered users of his textbook-download site as votes against that system.

The site started last January, but except for an author or two writing to ask that their books be removed, no one had complained until recently, he said. Last Friday, after The Chronicle began asking publishers about the site, Pearson Education sent the site a note demanding that 78 of its titles be removed. The site quickly complied. “We don’t have the legal muscle to fight them,” the founder said. But he added that he will press on with the site, even if such takedown requests continue. “I certainly have no intention of going anywhere.”

The site takes in some money through banner advertising, and some users have made donations, but he said Textbook Torrents is not profitable, and that the goal is simply to break even rather than to benefit financially.”

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