Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stealing Education - Update

CHE has managed to interview the student behind the website Textbook Torrents. Mr Anonymous characterises his activities as 'civil disobedience' and he described his web site as
operating in a “legal gray area.” He said he 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.

More here.

Following is the original post from earlier this week.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on illegal text books scanning which strongly suggests the situation is getting worse and may soon be out of control. Publishers will be forced to revise their textbooks far more frequently in order to keep ahead of the scanners. That of course is a strategy that will only work for a limited time.

From the article:

One Web site, called Textbook Torrents, promises more than 5,000 textbooks for download in PDF format, complete with the original textbook layout and full-color illustrations. Users must simply set up a free account and download a free software program that uses a popular peer-to-peer system called BitTorrent.

"In any given two-week period we found from 60,000 files all the way up to 50,000 files," said Edward McCoyd, director of digital policy for the publishing association. Mr. McCoyd, who leads the Online Piracy Working Group, said the group has been performing periodic scans for piracy since 2001, and that it has seen a gradual increase in the number of titles available.

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