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October 29, 2008

A pay-what-you-want casebook

From Profs. Lydia Loren and Joe Miller (both of Lewis & Clark Law School), a pay-what-you-feel casebook on intellectual property. According to Prof. Loren:

Joe Miller and I have written a new IP Survey book and we are looking for some “beta testers” to try it out next semester. The book is entirely in digital form. If a student would like a hard copy they are free to print out the book or any part of it. Also, there is a full digital statutory supplement that comes with the book – at no extra charge to the students. You can view a table of contents online.

We are offering this book through a new publishing company that we started, called Semaphore Press, using a “radiohead” distribution model: students are given a suggested price of $30 for the book, but can elect to pay something different (more or less). They can even not pay anything by clicking on the “Freeride” button. You can read more about the publishing company and its philosophy at http://www.semaphorepress.com. As a professor interested in reviewing the book, you can always click on the “freeride” button at the bottom of the payment page to take a look at the entire book (or any part).

Prof. Miller is using this book this fall at the University of Georgia and I’m using it at Lewis& Clark (in two separate sections). We have found that students like the flexibility that the digital format offers. One student even prepared audio files of the different chapters so that he could listen to the book while commuting. And, we also found that students appreciate the reasonable pricing of the book, with a majority of them opting to pay the suggested price.

Let us know if you are interested in adopting this book. While neither you nor your school’s bookstore needs to “order” anything from us, we would like to know who is adopting the book so we can continue to evaluate the book, the distribution model, and in general seek feedback from the beta testers! We also have a survey that we would appreciate having students complete at the end of the term. We are also happy to share our power point files and syllabi.


Here, again, is the link to Intellectual Property Law: Cases & Materials. Try it out -- you'll see that the site is designed so that users are strongly channeled through the "pay something" page. I wonder if the authors' pay rate will remain high as the relationship between them and the students attenuates (e.g. if profs at other schools assign this book)? I guess we'll find out soon.

Not to be outdone, Prof. Thomas Field of Franklin Pierce School of Law mentions that he offers a free textbook for download via SSRN: Fundamentals of Intellectual Property: Cases & Materials. The digital version is free; a microprint costs around $16-17 right now.

- Gene Koo

October 29, 2008 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2008

What will be (and should be) the future of traditional law school grading?

At his law school blog, Brian Leiter has this notable post, titled "Will Other Schools Follow the Yale/Harvard/Stanford Lead of Effectively Eliminating Grades?".  Here is how it starts:

There are rumors aplenty that Columbia and NYU may move to something like the Yale system of essentially two grades -- Honors/Pass -- now that Harvard and Stanford are going that route (though perhaps these two will actually utilize Low Pass and Fail, unlike Yale).  NYU, given its size, can probably least afford to eliminate sorting mechanisms, especially since it appears Columbia grads are still slightly preferred by the very top NYC firms.  For those who have asked, I think there is essentially no chance Chicago will go this route, or anything like this route.

Among interesting aspects of this post is the notion that the virtues and vices of a two-grade system may depend significantly on the size of a law school (even though Harvard and Stanford represent opposite extremes as to law school size).  Of course, it seems obvious that the virtues and vices of a two-grade system may also depend significantly on the national reputation of a law school, though I could readily imagine good (and bad) arguments for schools not consistently ranked in the Top 10 considering a move to an Honors/Pass grading system.

Some related LSI posts:

October 28, 2008 in Grading systems | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack