Friday, October 05, 2007

Is it possible to shoplift information?

A couple of weeks ago I was out driving around with the family. I had written down directions to a children’s museum but was having a little difficulty finding the place. We were in the right vicinity, but there was something wrong. So I stopped at a CVS, went in and headed right for the Hagstrom Maps stand. There I picked up a county map, found the place I was looking for, put it back and headed out the door. Was that shoplifting?

The Harvard University bookstore, the Coop, thinks so.

Coop President Jerry P. Murphy ’73 said that while there is no Coop policy against individual students copying down book information, “we discourage people who are taking down a lot of notes.”

The apparent new policy could be a response to efforts by—an online database that allows students to find the books they need for each course at discounted prices from several online booksellers—from writing down the ISBN identification numbers for books at the Coop and then using that information for their Web site.
Murphy said the Coop considers that information the Coop’s intellectual property.

And they are prepared to call the cops on you.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Ah, see, you didn't take notes. If you had, you'd be jailbait.

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