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Stop Pirating Copyrighted Course Readings

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University students: Two wrongs don’t make a right, but if the university busts you for pirating music, point out the frequent piracy by your professors of copyrighted course materials.

Professors: We should stop pretending there is some loophole that allows us to freely scan and distribute copyrighted course readings. Yes, there are gray zones in what can be copied without permission of a copyright holder, but a basic assigned course reading just isn’t one of them.

The test is simple: If the official coursepacks copy center that your bookstore uses would demand the purchase of reproduction rights, then any attempt to get around that—a local copy shop, emailing a PDF, handing out copies in class, uploading to a course web site, having the library upload to an online course reserves—is piracy.

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