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Legally Forced Waste--Curriculum & Copyrights

 
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Today's scenario:
      I've just bought a $25 paperback math teaching book, and it is not a mass-printed consumable workbook, it's a real, perfect-bound book. There are some math drill practice pages, but most of the book is not those pages.   And on the copyright page, there is a stern warning: families may copy Practice Pages for their own students, but they must NOT make copies so the book can later be resold or donated.

Wait...what? I can't even DONATE this book if I photocopied the worksheet pages for my own child? This seems very wasteful and very wrong to me.

I totally agree that Copyright law should protect the work of creators from others profiting off their work--but I believe that copyrights should not be a tool for forcing consumers to treat certain durable goods as consumables.

This means I have to choose whether I will get the money out of it that I paid for it by using it as a consumable and then recycling it, or figuring out how to base my own practice pages off the models in the book so I can pass the book on to another family that might find it useful--a family that will then have to face this exact same copyright conundrum.
 
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Normally it is permissible  to make copies of some extract of books for your own, or study purposes. I have a workbook for alcohol sales training - each chapter has a worksheet at the end. It seems perfectly fine to me to copy that page so that each of my staff can use the same book. I just checked (phew!) and it does not have a similar warning. I guess it just comes down to fair use. Do they make the worksheets available separately?
 
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Notices that don't follow the law are void and can face mega-fines in some countries like the EU for deceptive practices.

Local copyright and reselling laws apply.  

Most places this means no copies for anything but your own use and you can resell the physical book.  If you live somewhere with Fair Dealings - mostly commonwealth countries - there are many exceptions for educational use.

Somewhere like the USA has more complicated copyright laws, but unless they trademarked the entire book (unlikely), what is written there doesn't comply with any Intellectual Property law I've seen from the US.  
 
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Rachel, I think what the copying reference is stating is that while you can perfectly legally copy some of the book to do specific activities, you are prohibited from copying the entire book and then selling the copies or giving away whole-book copies such that another person does not have to buy the book at all.  I know that is a mouthful.  I have a similar issue if I show a movie during/after class.

Eric
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Thanks for your input, everyone! Here is the text in my book, so you can see I was not exaggerating. It is a book published in the beautiful USA, so it exists in our labyrinthine law system...
Extremely-Restrictive-Copyright-Notice-Copy.png
[Thumbnail for Extremely-Restrictive-Copyright-Notice-Copy.png]
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Rachel Lindsay wrote:Thanks for your input, everyone! Here is the text in my book, so you can see I was not exaggerating. It is a book published in the beautiful USA, so it exists in our labyrinthine law system...



(Now, the question is--have I violated copyright law by photographing and posting this copyright notice? *eyeroll*)
 
r ranson
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If that was in Canada, The Courts would laugh and slap the publisher with a huge fine.

In the US, it depends on the state.  But my understanding is that most countries consider it a basic right to pass books along, usually through used bookshops.  It goes back to the medieval period when copyright law first started up.  The US follows in that tradition, so unless there are specific state laws going against that, um... no.  
 
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I don't really understand the issue. It says you can't copy the book in order to keep a copy and pass the original on. Isn't that true and reasonable of every book in every country?
 
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i don't think fair use laws in the US vary by state.
you might find this interesting (and potentially baffling and infuriating). the laws about classroom use are squidgy and even during senate hearings are interpreted six different ways. but unless the book is considered a consumable (a workbook) limited copying is permitted according to fair use laws. what you do with a book afterward seems to be completely none of their beeswax. just because i slap a warning like that in a book doesn't mean it's the law.
https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf
(and i found that at the CUNY library services website, which is a gold mine. when i taught high school japanese many of the resources were impossible to source and i learned a lot about copyright!)
 
r ranson
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My understanding of fair use in the usa is that the law is federal,  but vaguely written.   The courts interpret it, and this varies dramatically depending where in the usa you are.

Not sure this falls easily under fair use.

It would fall directly under Fair Dealings as it's educational, but wrong country.

Of course,  one could copy the exercise by hand into the workbook.  Benefit is no bother with aggressive IP notices and extra learning.   That's what they had us do in a lot of classes,  even geometry.   The idea was we could better understand the questions and have all the needed info for the exams in one book
 
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Hi Rachel,
WTMP's notice seems to me to be aimed at intent. The clause "...so that the book may be resold &c..." would, to me, prohibit a purchaser from copying out content with the intent to flip the book.

As an antidote to ill-feeling, I would like to note that Susan Wise-Bauer and her mother are the founders of WTMP, which stepped in to fill a much-needed void in homeschooling with classical grammar. It has grown, yes, but it's still a good-people sort of operation. I bet you would get a reasonable response if you were to simply ask them "What is your intent with this clause? Is it permissible for me to take my children through this curriculum and then when we are done, to sell or give the resources to a family that needs them?"

Now, if we want this thread to turn ugly, let's talk college textbook publishing, and we can get badge bits for sharpening pitchforks...

Best to you and your family in your homeschool journey!
Mark

(PS - in one of the grammar stages, there is a "write a letter to a business" assignment. Our son felt a little sarcastic, and wrote to WTMP - respectfully, if a little tongue-in-cheek. He received back a handwritten note thanking him for writing.)
 
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I read that as asking buyers not to photocopy what they need then sell the book on immediately during the same school year they are using materials from it.

It would be both mean and illogical to ban any sales or donation of the book at all after use, which is the only other way to interpret it. $25 is a lot to pay for what in that case would be a single use workbook, especially as by definition most homeschooling families are going to be single income at best, and may not have a lot of spare cash.

I am an author, so I'm a tad touchy about copyright, but there is also fair use. I agree with Mark that the intent, though poorly worded, is most likely to stop people in effect selling the book while they are still using it for lessons.
 
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Rachel Lindsay wrote: Wait...what? I can't even DONATE this book if I photocopied the worksheet pages for my own child? This seems very wasteful and very wrong to me.

This may not be the permiest thing to do, but for a couple of situations that were vaguely similar with my boys, I got one of the plastic sheets for an overhead projector and some of the washable markers to go with. I'd paper-clip the plastic sheet over the page in the book, the kid would fill it out, I'd give feedback as needed, then wash off the sheet for the next time.

I did this for times that it really was "extra practice", so the need to have a longer term record of the work didn't exist.

This may or may not fulfill the "spirit of the law" in your mind, but it fulfilled my need to not have a ton of waste from practice work!
 
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