Student Lecture Notes infringe Professor’s Copyright?

Sounds almost surreal
… taking notes in class is copyright infringement? I know this case is not that clear cut, the Professor is partnering with an e-book manufacturer and they’re trying to sue an organisation that pays students to take good notes which are then published. The whole thing seems to hinge on the notion that notes taken in class are “derivative works”

“Students are buying a particular note packet to do well on a particular exam by a particular professor,” Sullivan said. “The commercial appeal of the product is that it is a copy or close derivative work of that professor’s intellectual property.”
But if a professor’s lectures are copyrighted, aren’t students already infringing just by taking the notes in the first place?
Yes, Sullivan answers, student notes do infringe, but they are protected infringement.
“That’s absolutely fair use,” Sullivan said.

What if a student took notes, but didn’t copy anything verbatim from a professor’s lecture, and then decided to publish the notes online or sell them?

“While that may not be slavish copy, the notes would be a derivative work and a copyright holder has the exclusive right to create derivative notes,” Sullivan said.

Whilst I recognise that this is an attempt to protect the intellectual property of the Professor, and the whole business around paying students to make good notes which are then published so lazy students who dont go to class can benefit from them is of course ethically and morally questionnable … but it seems to me that this lawsuit has wider implications … for example:

How long will it be before students will have to sign an EULA before walking into a class room? Maybe I just don’t get it but this feels so wrong.

Microsoft adds copyrighted books to its Live Search

Microsoft has added copyrighted books to its online library, stating it has permission to offer the works t searchers on the internet .  They have made deals with with authors and publishers to include their works in the Live Search, and in doing so Microsoft have managed to sidestep the controversy that Google initially triggered when they began their book digitising project to offer the worlds written works online.

User’s have to log into Live Search in order to read the content online, it appears that user’s can only read a certain number of pages and the software keeps track of how many pages visitors have read online for free. Most of the searches I have performed allow me to read 10% of the pages in any Copyrighted book that I’m browsing. I actually find this far more useful than simply being able to browse the table of contents or view selected extracts as one can in Google’s Book Search. This enables me to make a more informed decision as to whether I want to go and buy the book, and also, if im just searching for the answer to a question or need to read up on a chapter on some specific subject, I can read those bits for free online which probably will mean I wont need to go out and buy the book.

Amongst the publishers who have agreed to allow this type of access to their materials are Simon and Schuster, Mcgraw-Hill, Rodale and Cambridge University Press. Microsoft obviously provide direct links to where the books you are reading online can be purchased from. It’s an interesting move by Microsoft when you consider that Google’s wholesale scanning of copyrighted works in library collections will give it a larger database of books, but by working with publishers and obtaining their permission, Microsoft is seemingly able to offer a better experience to users.