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New Media The Mundane

I’ve been pirated

EN 3160 .jpgA  for-profit site, coursehero.com, has grabbed a couple of handout exercises I used in a web writing course four or five years ago, and is trying to sell them to students. Right now, the page is here: EN 3160 Bemidji State – Notes, Exams, Homework Answers, Textbook. I don’t know how long it will last. The administration has discovered the site and will be taking action.

It looks like one of their spiders simply scarfed stuff up willy-nilly. The EN 3160 course at BSU is long defunct; and on the site, my handouts are mixed in with PPs and a set of what looks like final papers submitted for a history course. Elsewhere on the site, I found old drafts of reports from campus offices – a real hodge-podge of stuff, pretty much worthless to anyone. It looks like someone’s been raiding the wastebaskets.

The materials from other universities look much better: syllabi, essay assignments, student papers from NYU, BYU, Ohio State, and BGSU, although there’s no telling how current these are. I’m almost embarrassed by the thinness of the booty the pirates found at BSU.

We’re going to get warnings from the administration about locking our course materials behind firewalls. But I see this wastebasket raid demonstrating the advantage of keeping an open net. The materials students need for my classes are already on the course site – offered under Creative Commons Share-Alike with no charge. And that make the materials pretty much worthless to for-profit pirate sites. So coursehero.com ends up scavenging to make a living.

Course Hero also has an interesting method of handling copyright infringement. If they have your stuff, you have to prove it’s yours.

Looks like an interesting week is starting.