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Art School's Expensive Art History Textbook Contains No Actual Art

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the insert-image-here dept.

Education 371

Dr Herbert West writes "Students at Ontario College of Art and Design were forced to buy a $180 textbook filled with blank squares. Instead of images of paintings and sculpture throughout history (that presumably would fall under fair-use) the textbook for 'Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800' features placeholders with a link to an online image. A letter from the school's dean stated that had they decided to clear all the images for copyright to print, the book would have cost a whopping $800. The screengrabs are pretty hilarious, or depressing, depending on your point of view."

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371 comments

Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (5, Interesting)

pauldmartin (2005952) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395701)

I'm confused as to why they even needed publication rights to print these images...shouldn't all of these images be in the public domain at this point?

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395739)

Maybe the photographs they wanted to use were copyrighted, not the artwork, per se... they were too lazy to take their own pictures? For a $180 book they should have the budget. Heck, I've been to many of those museums, I'd be happy to go back and take pix if they'd pay for the trip.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (4, Interesting)

OAB_X (818333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395755)

You can't just go into a museum and take a picture of something and have it be good enough for print. You need the proper lighting, etc, etc.

That and presumably the museum could refuse you access if you were going to take pictures for commercial purposes.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395765)

Even a poor snapshot is better than a blank white square.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395879)

Even a poor snapshot is better than a blank white square

You forgot one thing -

A book filled with poor snapshots will not make Slashdot

A book filled with blank white squares ... will

Museums don't let you (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396001)

You can't go into a museum and take a photograph, BECAUSE THEY DON'T LET YOU. They'll provide photographs if you want, but only under license.

So the paintings are out of copyright, but the DRM, erm phyical barrier to them, WILL GO ON FOREVER. This is necessary to encourage Picaso to paint more painting, Van Gogh needs to be rewarded to paint more.

Re:Museums don't let you (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396121)

Exactly! I know I've photographed in museums before but only before getting caught. Then its like, "stop taking photos or we'll throw on the street".

Re:Museums don't let you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396157)

It depends on the museum. If you ask about it ahead of time, they'll often allow you to take pictures provided that you don't use a flash.

Re:Museums don't let you (3, Informative)

spooje (582773) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396193)

Actually most museums will let you take photos, but you can't use a flash or tripod.

Re:Museums don't let you (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396273)

Indeed. From the Art Institute of Chicago...

Photography

You are welcome to take photographs of the permanent collection and selected loan exhibitions. Please respect signage in exhibitions prohibiting photography of specific works of art. Photographs must use existing light (no flash photography) and are allowed with the condition that the images are for personal, nondistributional, noncommercial use. Flashes, tripods, and video cameras are prohibited.

Members of the media should contact our Department of Public Affairs at (312) 443-3626 or aicpublicaffairs@artic.edu to arrange shoots for still photography and film.

Emphasis mine. I'm not sure what the arrangements would look like for commercial use, but I'd guess they're usually expensive and very specific. As a side note, any school that makes it mandatory to purchase a $180 art book with no photos should suffer a lack of enrollment. That's disgusting, even beyond the usual, disgusting text book scam.

Re:Museums don't let you (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396239)

There are two reasons I actually like a "no pictures" policy.

1. Tourists taking pictures are annoying. Just look and enjoy. Your camera gets in the way of that.
2. Most people taking pictures would be too brain-dead to realize they need to turn off the flash.

Bonus: If having to pay for a postcard in the museum gift shop helps keep that museum open, it's worth it. Though it sounds like they may be charging textbook makers too much. (Also: Why is the license to show them on a website more expensive than the license to print it in a book? Presumably, it won't let you view the images unless you own a copy of the book, so...why?)

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (4, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396175)

This is how many public domain works end up recopyrighted. Nobody is allowed to take photos of the original, and the only existing photos are copyrighted. This especially happens after an historic work of art has had some work done to restore it to its original glory. The old photos all show the unrestored version, and all photos of the restored version are recent and copyrighted. It's an ugly practice and needs to be outlawed.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (0)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395775)

On the other hand, this is probably just a hoax. Nothing to see here, please move along. (no pun intended, really)

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396257)

The future of education in the digital age? Courses unable to provide the information they are teaching because the anti-piracy laws mean only the original publisher of the material is allowed to talk about it?

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (3, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395801)

Yes, while such slavish copying would not result in a copyrightable photograph here in the US, the school and textbook in this case are Canadian, and it is likely that photographs of public domain works in which nothing creative is added by the photographer are copyrightable anyway for some reason.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395809)

The cost of hiring a professional photographer to travel to all these museums (and probably a bunch of private collectors) and take all these photographs is probably higher than just buying these photographs from someone.

Anyway at $180 a book one would expect to be able to get photos in it. The $800 each for copyright clearance as TFS claims sounds totally unrealistic to me. Works that are in museums should have photos available at low cost; privately owned works maybe a little more but also not too much. It's mostly stock photo work after all.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395921)

Anyway at $180 a book one would expect to be able to get photos in it. The $800 each for copyright clearance as TFS claims sounds totally unrealistic to me.

Perhaps it was just a small run book for one specific class at a specific school. So while the licensing fee for copyright clearance could be nominal, it might still be a lot of paperwork to be done, and a prohibitive cost for a book that might sell 60 copies a semester...

It would cut down on a lot of legwork, to just not bother with printing images in the first place, and give students links instead.

Although, of course it devalues the textbook as well (IMO)... for no pictures or diagrams, the book should be less than $50 a pop.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395847)

Except the whole book is a scam.

Professors say, to teach this course I need four books! However, by piecing together a book from other books and paying only the necessary royalties I can save you (the students) money.

Never mind the professor/publisher makes a small sum from each student he sales his crap too. Unfortunately, looks like publishers are getting wise to the piece-mail offering and want in on the pie. The good news is now they can save a lot of money by not paying any royalties. Somehow, the savings don't get passed onto the consumer.

We had this happen a few times in college and some dealt with it as any good/scrupulous student would. They thoroughly made copies of the material and distributed accordingly. Fortunately, a few of us had the master print code for the printers and the university appeared to be happy to foot the bill for the copies.

As a small note, when confronted with the scam the professor completely defended his practice. Though no great portion of any piece of the book was used in great detail. I know, I neither purchased the book nor took one of the photocopies. The material presented for testing was nearly one hundred percent lecture material or wild draft speculation.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395973)

Presuming the photos were taken to portray the art as faithfully as possible, then the photos are not copyrightable. There is no "creativity" in making a copy, any more than a Xerox machine owns a copyright of every copy it makes. Even if it takes considerable skill and time to get such a faithful photo, it's still not "creative" to copy something faithfully.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395819)

Old art works are not copyright protected of course. Everyone is free to make their own copies of such a work - make an identical painting, make a photo, print that photo.

However the newly made painting and photo do have copyright on them. Just like you can not copyright a building or a person, but you can copyright a photo of that building or person.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395979)

But you can't copyright something that isn't creative, and a picture of something designed to be as un-creative as possible (faithful to the original) is not copyrightable, even if it takes considerable skill and time to achieve the effect.

Re:Global Visual Culture From Preshistory to 1800 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396165)

Making a photo of an existing painting is creative, as you created something that wasn't there before.

You are probably thinking of the popular definition of "creative" which means doing something original, special, and not obvious. That's another meaning of the same word. Luckily the makers of copyright law were smarter than that.

And even though I wouldn't call your comment special or anything, you still own the copyright on your comment for the simple reason that you created it.

So (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395723)

They seem to believe that a url where you can see it online is as good as having it printed right in fromt of you. Were I one of those parents I would just hand then a piece of paper with a link to a picture of $180. Fair is fair.

Re:So (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395855)

They seem to believe that a url where you can see it online is as good as having it printed right in fromt of you. Were I one of those parents I would just hand then a piece of paper with a link to a picture of $180. Fair is fair.

Oh, I don't know... a printed image in a book has a pretty limited resolution. An on-line image can offer a lot more... take a look at the very high resolution imagery provided by http://googleartproject.com./ [googleartproject.com.] You can see the work as a whole or if you'd like to you can zoom in to see more detail than you could see if you were standing in front of the real piece.

OTOH, I have to agree that having the images the text is discussing right next to the images would be much more useful if you want to, for example, study art history.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395943)

That website looks pretty cool, but...why in the hell would you sort artists by first name?

Re:So (4, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395989)

Because so many artists are know by only one name. Madonna, Rianna, Michaelangelo...

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396221)

Good thing is that at least you sorted the artists correctly.

Re:So (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396017)

Because, the kind of people who study art history couldn't figure out how to sort by last name.

Re:So (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395951)

Oh, I don't know... a printed image in a book has a pretty limited resolution. An on-line image can offer a lot more...

Including a hyperlink or button to open a high-res version of an image on a reliable site (no Geocities or john doe's website, that might be down tomorrow, or replaced with advertising) could be acceptable on an e-Book, intended for consumption on a tablet with a high-def display, with an internet connection available at all times.

You could read the eBook, and view the image in the same browser without exiting the book or 'breaking' your reading session or stream of thought; so it's as good as if the image were in the book.

However, in a print work, for an art class a picture of the art in the book itself, is indispensable, should be considered mandatory.

Re:So (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396113)

To which the school will respond by sending you a link to a picture of your transcript.

Re:So (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396159)

If a pictureless art history book is the best it can do, the picture of the transcript probably IS just as good as the actual transcript, just cheaper.

College textbooks a scam? (3)

hsmith (818216) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395737)

Well file this under no fucking shit.

Schools don't care, because they are making filthy money off of them, that have no incentive to do anything to reduce the prices.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395769)

Are the schools to blame though, or rent seeking stock photo sources? Some of the licences these guys try to pull are insane.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395835)

Are the schools to blame though, or rent seeking stock photo sources?

The stock photo sources didnt put a gun to the schools head and make them choose this textbook.

In the case of Ontario, the Minister of Education creates a list of acceptable textbooks called the Trillium List [gov.on.ca] which the schools may then choose from.

The question is, do you believe that this was the best art history textbook on the list? The guilty party depends on the answer.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (3, Informative)

Another, completely (812244) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396141)

I don't think that list is relevant to colleges and universities.

The Trillium guide explains that "School boards may select textbooks from the Trillium List and approve them for use in their schools." but the Ontario College of Art & Design is a university with a board of governors (6 individuals appointed by the Ontario government, 2 elected by the OCAD U Alumni, and 9 by the Board itself), not a school with a school board.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396179)

Are the schools to blame though, or rent seeking stock photo sources? Some of the licences these guys try to pull are insane.

False dichotomy. There's enough blame to go around.

Also, I take exception to this line from the story: "were forced to buy".
No, they were not forced to buy anything. Just because it's on the syllabus and the professor tells you to buy it doesn't mean you actually HAVE to buy it.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (4, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396251)

Right. Nobody's holding a gun to your head. However, what if, in order to graduate, you must pass the class? And in order to pass the class, you must buy the textbook? In that case, the distinction is quite small.

It's similar to saying, "You don't HAVE to obey the law." It's technically correct. You're a free-will being, and you can make your own choices. However, there will be consequences if you decide to go that route.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395953)

Schools don't care, because they are making filthy money off of them, that have no incentive to do anything to reduce the prices.

Schools don't make money from the sale of books anymore, if you're dumb enough to buy from the university bookstore without checking online first that's a reasonable stupid tax. Gone are the days of waiting 6 weeks in a 12 week course for the textbook you ordered from amazon. Also, maintaining a storefront on a university campus can be surprisingly expensive, and have shitty sales. You have a captive market of poor people who don't really want to buy anything they don't have to, and no access to foot traffic from elsewhere, also, the bookstores are supposed to guarantee adequate supply for classes so they have huge inventory fees that no one else would have to deal with.

As to the story itself.. .first of all, it's OCAD, you kind of expect some weird shit if you go to OCAD. Second of all, none of my computer science books have computers in them, lots of them don't have code in them. That is, believe it or not, not the point. My physics textbooks have descriptions of the experiments, usually not pictures of the actual apparatus used, etc. Publications in art don't necessarily have a picture of the image itself (no more than movie critics include a copy of the book with their review). It's a textbook, for whatever reason the professor figured it had the best analysis of the works s/he was going to talk about in class.

Where I am, which is a couple of hours west of OCAD, we have some courses with text books (some expensive) some without, and some with 15 dollar course packs, though those are largely now just done as the raw files on the web. Some profs require books they themselves wrote (which usually has the advantage of them actually covering things only in the texbook), some of us did quite a lot of research to select a book. And sometimes a book is selected

Don't get me wrong, it's a bizarre choice to require a book that looks like it's a broken webpage, but lots of professors are bizarre, and one should be grateful the professor speaks english. It's also possible the 180 dollars is really just the cost of the access code to the website, and the 'book' is just a very inefficient delivery mechanism of that code. In context though, to even go to OCAD you're paying the (by ontario standards average) Sum of 6400* dollars per 2 semesters, sept - may roughly, or about 600 dollars per course to even be allowed to sit in the room. (http://www.ocadu.ca/Assets/pdf_media/Finance/2012+2013+FW+UG+DOM+TUITION.pdf), it's not obvious if this text would have use in only one course or two. But asking students to spend 800 dollars on a book for a 600 dollar course is unlikely to prove any more popular than a 180 dollar book with the right words but no pictures.

*foreign students pay 18K, the difference is subsidized by the government for domestic students, and is roughly the same for all non professional undergraduate programmes across Ontario

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

hazem (472289) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396005)

Gone are the days of waiting 6 weeks in a 12 week course for the textbook you ordered from amazon.

It's not as great as you say... yet. My AI class starts next week and we only found out yesterday what the book would be. Amazon has the book for quite a bit cheaper than the school bookstore, but says, "this title usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks".... "usually"? Even all the used sellers say it will take a 2 or more weeks to ship; and this for a book published in 2005. I'm taking the gamble with Amazon, but mostly because I found a website that summarizes the contents of the book.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396075)

AI Application Programming?

I thought, and admittedly, I'm purely a game AI guy, so I could be wrong, but I thought that book was replaced by that author with some newer variant (the systems approach one).

This is why we shouldn't recommend old books, just because you can get one copy cheap doesn't mean you can get a full class worth of them cheap. We had a prof at the last place I was that used to find textbooks from bargain bins to keep costs down. Unfortunately finding 150 or 300 copies of books that are bargain binned is not trivial.

Also, you've made a choice - you gambled on Amazon, and you could lose. You could suck it up and pay the full price and know you'll have the book from the bookstore. That's a fair market. At least here you couldn't use the book as a text if the bookstore couldn't get it, but that comes with a premium cost because anyone who can find it cheap will.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

hazem (472289) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396209)

That is indeed the book. Oddly enough, the teacher who last taught the course used the newer book you mention, so I got it earlier this summer when I saw it cheap on Amazon. I assumed the teacher this fall would use the same book. I don't mind having the newer book... again another gamble - maybe I should have taken the game theory class I dropped last spring term.

For this term, looking at the syllabus he's put out, I don't think there will be an urgent need for the older book in the first couple weeks.

As for AI itself, I'm fascinated by the subject and am diving in. I'm starting a 2nd masters degree in Systems Science and intend to make a big part of my work related to AI, Machine Learning, and applying those methods to supply chain decision making (I'm a supply chain analyst in my professional work). I've been working through Andrew Ng's ML class on Coursera and have been having fun with it so far.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396013)

Second of all, none of my computer science books have computers in them

Do they have an empty spaces where a computer was meant to be, with a newegg URL so that you can buy your own?

lots of them don't have code in them.

Do they have empty spaces where source code was meant to be, with a URL?

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396049)

Do they have empty spaces where source code was meant to be, with a URL?

Yes, quite a lot of them actually.

Most coding books these days have an online presence where you get the actual source code, and the text itself just points you to it.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396117)

Computer science textbooks don't have code. That's for computer programming textbooks. Even then, they don't necessarily have code if their purpose is purely paradigms, concepts and methodologies.

  That book you bought for Comp Sci? It's for the practical application (programming) bit of your curriculum.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396187)

to quote myself on the topic

Second of all, none of my computer science books have computers in them, lots of them don't have code in them. That is, believe it or not, not the point.

A comp sci book doesn't need to have programming in it because comp sci is not all programming. I specifically mentioned coding books as not having code in them.

An art book need not be about looking at art, it's about critique of art and discussion of the art. How representative the sample image is of the entire book I don't know.

Also, I develop the curriculum and choose the CS textbook these days. Which is why I have so many textbooks, and I'm still not sure if students end up happier (or better off) with a book that is entirely self contained, but has no fully working code, or with a book that requires you access a website to get the code at all. My general feeling is that 10 years from now the book that is entirely self contained is better as a textbook - because the code snippets in isolation should still do their thing so to speak - whereas the more immediately topical stuff is good as a course pack, but I haven't found the sweet spot yet.

Especially in first and second year we cover a lot of core CS concepts as part of programming, so they tend to intermingle a bit. Not everyone does though, I know our colleagues down the highway at waterloo are more theoretically inclined than we are, but their admission average is also 10 points higher than ours.

Re:College textbooks a scam? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396259)

Some courses don't need pictures, you're right. But I think an art history book would be on the shortlist of those that do need pictures. If you look at the images on TFA, you can even see that the book has arrows pointing to various elements on the (not pictured) artwork.

Reading the summary (5, Funny)

Rizimar (1986164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395745)

Before I got halfway into the summary, I started to think that this was some kind of self-referential post-modern art book.

Re:Reading the summary (5, Funny)

kenj0418 (230916) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395903)

Maybe they are teaching the Art History majors their most important lesson "You have wasted your money."

Normally it takes them 4 years of college and then a year or more working at Starbucks to learn that.

Different Book (1)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395747)

TFA doesn't say why they couldn't find another book (or I just did a poor read).

Art is hard to teach without pictures, just look at the examples given, "line, light, form, and color" without being about to see the line, light, form, and color...unless the placeholder borders are the lines, the form is the rectangle, and the color and light are combined by the stark white on the page where an image should be (God, it sounds like some obscure, abstract art already)..

Think about it like this, it is a programming book without code snippets, although having online snippets would make sense since it is programming and you program on a computer, so it's even worse than that.

It's a scam (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395955)

The book likely is authored by someone who works at the university. So they write the book with all the pictures. Publisher says "Pictures are real expensive we'll have to charge a ton." So they leave the pictures out, and require the students to buy the book anyhow.

You often find that the very worst textbooks are required by the teacher that wrote them (or they were written by the department head or so on).

Original Source (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395767)

Link from summary - Salon: "This article originally appeared on Hyperallergic. "

Hyperallergic - "What is this, October!? According to a blog post"

Original Source: http://www.ashleyit.com/blogs/brentashley/2012/09/16/copyright-and-the-pictureless-art-history-textbook/

Forced? (1)

OAB_X (818333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395771)

Having attended University, I fail to see how someone is "forced" to buy a copy of the text. Borrowing a copy from the library, borrowing a copy from a friend, etc. are all ways to avoid being "forced" into buying a text.

Having made it through university without being "forced" to buy any texts for libral arts courses, I fail to see how the purchase of an art history text "forces" someone to actually buy the text.

That and it seems that the ebook edition has the pictures in it.

Stupid Canadian copyright law apparently (or inept publishers, there have been texts published with art pictures for a while right? Even in Canada?)

Re:Forced? (4, Informative)

Formalin (1945560) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395837)

They've since invented codes that go along with the book - required to view online information and submit assignments, if the teacher is using their online framework.
Naturally the code is only functional for a single semester, so even if you buy a used book, or share a book, you need your own code to submit assignments.

They'll gladly sell you just the code, for the low fee of... almost as much as a new book+code cost.

Cancerous as hell...

Re:Forced? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395977)

They've since invented codes that go along with the book - required to view online information and submit assignments, if the teacher is using their online framework.

Sounds like a lawsuit, or an administrative complaint to be made to the school, about being requested to make unreasonable expenditures to participate in the class, beyond the standard used book cost.....

Re:Forced? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396177)

Well they already do it with Video Games in an attempt to stifle the secondary market. Higher Ed is just the next frontier.

Re:Forced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396203)

If the code is not listed in the syllabus, then they can't charge you for it. And no, they can't say "but the code is in the book and the book is required." If they say that, then they have to honor the code which is actually IN the book regardless of whether or not it has been used before.

You're not a child, you're an adult, and you need to learn how to stand up for yourself. If the professor isn't willing to work with you, then file a complaint with the administration, and if it's not part of your core requirements drop the class and demand a full refund. Don't ask, demand.

Re:Forced? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395999)

I fail to see how the purchase of an art history text "forces" someone to actually buy the text.

Generally it doesn't. This likely the parent of a first year who saw 'required' and thought 'required means required'. Not everyone knows these things, and it's not something you normally talk about.

It's also possible however that the textbook is supposed to be actively used in class (where, for example, he may have all of the relevant images on the projector).

I have had, in 1.75 undergrads, 2.5 masters degrees and most of the way through a PhD a few occasions where a 'required' textbook really did mean required, or at least, for all practical purposes meant required. Sure chem 101 had 9 copies of the book on reserve in the library, but there were 2700 students in the class, 9 copies doesn't go very far, and it doesn't take a lot of assholes sabotaging the books for the 9 in the library to be worthless. I had a java professor who used a standard java textbook but he used it in class, every class. He wasn't very good at his job, but I would have been doomed without the textbook there in front of me because everything he did depended on you being able to read the book in front of you. I've had classes where all examinations were open textbook - and not having your own copy poses a lot of problems there. And I've had expensive books (notably my calculus textbook from way back in 1998), which are still useful as a phd student in a different field years later. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji's Photons and Atoms: Introduction to Quantum Electrodynamics is just a pile of dead trees if you're not in the field, but David J. Griffiths Introduction to Electrodynamics has proven enormously valuable in everything from E&M to AI and graphics and hardware engineering.

Re:Forced? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396029)

I've had classes require you bring a copy to class. No copy, no grade. You aren't "forced" to get the book any more than you are "forced" to take the class. "Forced" when talking about a class in an optional program is obviously not the "forced" of prison rape. You are "forced" in many cases because it's new this semester, there is nobody to buy/borrow from who isn't already in the class. It should be a requirement that all texts be in the library, but almost none of mine were, and the ones that were were checked out long before class started (often before the book selection was public, from students guessing what they'll need). I think they'd hold on to them, as the fees for late for a semester were below the costs of the book. Or maybe they'd sell it and just pay the replacement cost to the library. I don't know, I just know that I've never been able to use the library for access to a class text. 3 degrees and 10 or so total years of post-secondary education.

Bullshit (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395783)

I call BS on the school. I took an Art History class in the US maybe 5 years ago, and it was chock full of really good reprints of famous works throughout history. The book cost me like $80.

Re:Bullshit (2)

OAB_X (818333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395821)

OCAD is a very well known and respected school in Ontario. The school itself is not a scam. Having a textbook custom created by a company (Prentice Hall) is very expensive. And the economies of scale that come with a very large run for dozens of schools are not present. Especially if the photographs need to be licensed at a flat rate.

Re:Bullshit (2)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395881)

Sure, ok, but what makes more sense to give to art students: a book with a bunch of empty boxes, or an "off-the-shelf" book with pictures of the art? Whatever benefit they supposedly get from a custom-made book they should be able to get from lecture and teachers notes, at least compared to the bother and expense of the shite they ended up with.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395913)

OCAD is a very well known and respected school in Ontario. The school itself is not a scam. Having a textbook custom created by a company (Prentice Hall) is very expensive.

And was it really necessary to have a custom-created Art History textbook?

Those two core Art History classes (covering pre-history to around the year 1400, and the second covering 1400 to 1945) are a requirement for literally everyone who studies Art, regardless of major or if they're pursuing a BA or BFA, painting, sculpture, or graphic design, etc. It's not like there weren't oodles of candidate textbooks for their curriculum to choose from.

The joke of this story is that the Art History department actually went along with Prentice Hall on this scam, instead of turning right around and looking elsewhere.

gits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395803)

time to go bionic eyes and put barcodes everywhere...

Deserved (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395833)

Honestly, they're art history students. I doubt they even know what money is, if they've even heard of it. I mean, if you're already charging for the world's most worthless education you're pretty much robbing someone, may as well grab all you can along the way.

Re:Deserved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396279)

if you're already charging for the world's most worthless education

Hey asshole, this isn't Women's Studies, or Basketweaving, or any shit like that!

What a load of... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395845)

...I picked up a DVDROM off the front of a magazine several years ago which had no less than 46,000 paintings digitally reproduced in printable resolution - including some of the more famous (Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena, Van Gogh's Tournesols, Van Eyck's Adam And Eve and The Adoration Of The Lamb, to name but a few). I've still got that disc somewhere. If the school need a decent source, they should see me.

Re:What a load of... (1)

Altrag (195300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396053)

Having a source != having copyright clearance to use the material from the source. Not that you can't question their claim regarding copyright clearance, but simply having a copy of the photo available isn't sufficient.

Re:What a load of... (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396249)

common to most other similar material found on the front of computer magazines, the images were accompanied by public domain type licensing documents. Or restrictive licenses in the case of software (in this case it was a giveaway version of Paint Shop Pro which was also on the disc, free on proviso that the user registered for a free key). As it's always useful to have such documents attached to an image either via linking from source or as meta information, I tend to avoid copyright issues either by citing the image source (hence to the attached license) or by creating my own image, by whatever means at my disposal.

qr codes (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395851)

Egads. The least they could have done is print QR codes linking to online versions instead of blank space...

reply (-1)

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Re:reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396067)

I've used some of their equipment. It sucks. Everything from China sucks. It's made by chinks.

Re:reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396129)

I'd like a dozen of these please. Can you deliver them to the principal of Sequoia High? He receives packages on my behalf all the time. Oh, and he wants a pizza. Just bill him. He's cool.

Re:reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396215)

Thankyou, I have added your domains and associated IP scopes to my global blacklist.

At least... (0)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395875)

It'll be right at home in Alabama and Missouri, next to the science textbooks that contain no science...

Where's Pilot Pirx? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395883)

This sounds like something from a Stanislaw Lem short story. Pirx visits a planet where IP laws have gone mad but everybody goes along with the insanity.

Re:Where's Pilot Pirx? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395899)

Naturally Pirx's spacecraft is confiscated because its shape is covered under local IP law and he does not have a license.

Too bad. (1)

iroll (717924) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395905)

It's a crying shame that no other art history books have ever been written or published. Ever.

First Edition! (4, Funny)

reverseengineer (580922) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395923)

Anyone here teaching a course might be interested in the comprehensive new textbook I'm writing. It has an attractive hard cover, a quality binding, and a single page inside which lists the URLs for Google and Wikipedia. My planned retail price is $499, but I'm willing to offer a volume discount.

Re:First Edition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396003)

I WANT IT! TAKE MY MONEY!!

The photos of art are being licenced, not the art (5, Insightful)

Bevilr (1258638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395947)

There is a huge misunderstanding in the summary about what is copyright (the art vs the images of the art), and the comments so far do poor job of explaining it, so I'll try. What the textbook maker does not want to pay for is licencing is photos of the works of art. If you wanted to take your own photo of any of these works of art you could (so long as the museum allowed photography), but without setting up, lighting or permission of the museum to use flash, a nice camera, or the proper angle your photo might look like shit. Especially on larger images in poorly lit churches with bars over the chapel in which a work of art is hung, getting your own photo is next to impossible. Museum and private collections take super high quality photos of their work and then licence out these images, using these fees to support the collection. Why they would charge $180 for a book which is essential just text I don't understand. No one out side of these classes will buy the book at $180 if it has no images, so why not just cut the blank spots, and have an all text textbook that has footnotes or side-notes with links to the art the text is talking about? You'd save a number of pages of space from the new layout, and you no longer have to pay for glossy photo pages, you could even make it a paper back and reduce the price to $50 or $60 and probably make the same overall profit off the book, if not more.

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396085)

Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (1)

tetromino (807969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396205)

Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.

A US federal court decision is hardly relevant in a question of Canadian copyright law. (The Ontario College of Art and Design is, as ought to be clear from the name, located in the Canadian province of Ontario.)

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396267)

There are more Ontarios in the United States [wikipedia.org] than there are in Canada if I'm not mistaken.

In all seriousness, why couldn't they just get a book with the pictures and then stick with that book for the duration of the class? Used books are cheap. Book rentals are cheaper. But if the school buys the books and loans them to the students in the class, that would be the cheapest. Assuming it's not illegal to rent or loan said books.

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396145)

So you're saying that if I take my $500 dollar camera to a museum and snap a picture of a picture then I can sell it on for $800 a pop...per viewer? What are we now, a nation of TicketBastard scalpers? That's what this is, a copyright fueled analog of scalping. Eventually we're all going to say no thanks to art, music or science. They'll eventually become too expensive for common folk.

What gets me is that these people demand power plants and roads and infrastructure. Are these people going to complain in 20 years when we all collectively shrug and say "what's a road?" or "what's a power plant?" because we weren't allowed to see pictures of them?

Humanity has cashed out.

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396183)

Why not go whole hog? You put the text of the book online, with links, free for everyone. For your class you charge a $200 "book fee". If anyone complains you give them a second URL together with a username and password. They log in, enter their name in field, and send it to you. That was the "homework", and what they get for $200 and asking silly questions.
Sign up now. If you join after the start of the semester it'll be $250. Actually, make that a round $300. And your password will be "imacunt".

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396219)

That still doesn't clear the makers of the book of seeming to be incompetent and lazy. And that's quite a bit of incompetence, for $180 a pop. Though one could say these students should be learning something with economic substance instead, but that doesn't clear the authors and gee, looking at it that way, this book does look like a barely-disguised attempt at fleecing the gullible. I may be out of a job right now, despite having some actual skills, but I'm actually glad I didn't go to that art college.

Re:The photos of art are being licenced, not the a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396275)

Why do we apply copyright to photos of works of art? They've already been created: there's no extra benefit to incentivise their creator.

Old news is old (2)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#41395961)

The next Slashdot Idle story will be ready soon, but Fark users can beat the rush and see it early!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41395963)

So where the fuck did the rest of the $180 cost come from? Oh right, raw profit and instructor kickbacks...

Copyright KILLS! (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396039)

because I almost choked laughing... oh my, oh my... what has this world come to. "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" and here is copyright in 2012 managing to do the exact opposite of BOTH these noble goals.

Re:Copyright KILLS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41396081)

Agreed. At this point it's basically game over.

Now the 'fear' of copyright is actually unwinding education. Education was supposed to be the last bastion of fair use rights.

Oh well, looks like human history is up for grabs to the highest bidder...what's our call?

Sounds familiar to me (1)

Mr. Daemon (11643) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396119)

So this book just contains links to graphic material that might o might not be copyrighted, but hosted and provided by others not related to the book?

I'm I the only one who thinks that sounds a lot like a torrent list site?

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Nothing New (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396181)

Fraudulent claims of copyright requiring 'clearance' and (ab)use of gatekeepers to control access to public domain works, where no copyrights in the original works exist, is a common method of revenue raising that is well known and nothing new. "Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law" [copyfraud.com] by Jason Mazzone attempts to address this and other abuses of so-called "intellectual property" law with suggestion of ways to reform the law. Very US-centric but an interesting read anyway.

(I am in no way affiliated with the author or publisher.)

Linking Is Infringing in The Netherlands (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#41396229)

the textbook for 'Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800' features placeholders with a link to an online image.

I hope they don't plan to publish in the Netherlands, since linking is infringing [pcworld.com] there now.

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