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No such thing as bad publicity for Boundless Learning

I had never heard of Boundless Learning ( until this morning, when I read that they were being sued for copyright infringment by three large textbook publishers ( That immediately piqued my interest in Boundless Learning. I must admit to a certain bias -- the suit reminded me of the the way the music, video, ISP and other incumbents react to threats of Internet disruption to their business models.

Boundless Learning is evidently going to produce free textbooks by pulling together open education material that is in the public domain or under Creative Commons or similar licenses.

I have not seen any of their books, but the textbook companies are claiming that Boundless Learning copies the format and organization of their books and paraphrase the text. Boundless Learning counters that the publishers are “using litigation to protect an antiquated business model.”

I went to the Boundless Learning web site, and learned that they had raised "$8 million in new funding and reached thousands of students."

Their board of advisors is even more impressive. It includes Hal Abelson founder of MIT's OpenCourseware and co author of the (rigorous) introduction to computer science "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" (text at, video lectures at:, publisher, conference organizer and activist Tim O'Reilly (, and Richard Baraniuk of Rice University who is the founder and director Connexions (http://, which publishes open, modular teaching material and is launching OpenStax (, a series of open access textbooks.

The advisory board convinced me that Boundless Learning is for real -- I signed up for a beta-test invitation. Even that mundane step showed some insight. As you see below, they ask you to identify yourself as an educator, student, self-learner or other. I've never been asked before if I am a self-learner. I registered four times -- all of the above.
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