Boundless, sued last year by three of the world’s largest textbook publishers, is fighting back in its lawsuit in new court documents filed this week. Below is a press release explaining our most recent legal news.
Boundless Asks Court to Rule on Current Products
Exposes Publishers’ Tactic to Sue Only on Products That No Longer Exist
Boston, MA – March 7th – Boundless, continuing to vigorously defend its mission of improving educational content and lowering the cost of college education, filed an Amended Answer and Counterclaims in its fight against textbook publishers. Since the publishers’ lawsuit was filed in March of last year, Boundless has revamped and improved its products and introduced new ones. Yet, even after being asked by Boundless’s lawyers, the publishers refused to say whether they believe that Boundless’s current offerings still infringe the copyright in their textbooks.
The publishers are choosing to pursue a tactic of obfuscation and overgeneralization by making claims only against Boundless’s products that no longer exist. In the words of the publishers’ attorney, they are counting on these obsolete claims to “inform [Boundless’s] current and future business practices.” With its counterclaims, Boundless rejects this tactic by asking the Court to render a definitive judgment declaring that Boundless’s current content and products do not infringe the copyrights in the publishers’ offerings.
“The publishers are hoping to stifle the innovation that Boundless brings to the textbook industry,” stated Ariel Diaz, Founder and CEO of Boundless. “We strongly deny the publisher’s original allegations. We also strongly believe that the current content and products, which we have significantly enhanced and improved based on student feedback and our own editorial efforts, do not infringe the copyrights in the publishers’ static and outdated products. Therefore, while continuing to defend against the original claims, we are asking the Court to declare that the current Boundless offerings do not infringe any of the publishers’ copyrights.”
Ironically, although the publishers are accusing Boundless of copying the selection of material in their textbooks, it is common knowledge that textbook publishers make an effort to ensure that their own textbooks cover the same subject matter as their competitors’ textbooks—a fact not lost on professors as written about here and here.
Boundless has brought innovation to the broken textbook industry. While the Internet has driven cost savings and productivity gains to most other industries, the cost of textbooks has increased at 3 times the rate of inflation. In the past year, since the litigation has begun, Boundless has:
- Expanded its content coverage sixfold to eighteen subjects
- Continued to improve the content quality of all offerings, including the works involved in the litigation
- Added features that go way beyond traditional textbooks, such as flashcards integrated into specific textbook chapters, SmartNotes that succinctly summarize the most important topics for students, and more
- Seen students at over 2,000 US campuses register to use Boundless’s innovative study tools and high-quality content
- Released eighteen Boundless-branded “Open Textbooks” under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA) contributing to the growing open educational resource (OER) movement
- Listed thousands of curated, open educational content as “Boundless Concepts” – also available under CC BY-SA license – as an alphabetical listing of organized educational content available to all Internet users
As the textbook publishers continue to protect their outdated and oligopolistic practices, students are bearing the burden of the inflated cost of educational content and demanding something better. Boundless continues its fight to make high-quality learning material affordable and accessible for students everywhere and is striving to put students back into the heart of learning.
Boundless is making education more accessible and affordable. Boundless is building an innovative learning platform that curates the world’s best open educational content and delivers interactive learning tools to college students. Students at over 2,000 colleges have registered to use Boundless’s free alternatives to expensive textbooks and are discovering digital study features that go way beyond traditional textbooks. Learn more at www.boundless.com.