Three Big Publishers Sue Free-Textbook Company

Friday, April 6, 2012

Boundless Learning Inc. says it will liberate college students from big textbook bills with free online versions built from public Web content.

But the Boston start-up is being accused of copyright infringement by three of the largest educational publishers in the world, who say it creates its texts by stealing from well-known textbooks. Boundless is “a business built on brazen infringement’’ that “misleads students, and has a corrosive effect on learning,’’ according to a lawsuit filed last month in US District Court in New York.

“We deny the allegation, and we are going to defend our company’s mission strongly,’’ said Ariel Diaz, chief executive of year-old Boundless Learning, which has raised $9.7 million in funding. “Copyright should not be used to protect antiquated business models.’’

Diaz said Boundless Learning will offer its texts for free and make money by selling supplemental materials. It uses content from sources such as the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia and Open Educational Resources, a database of free educational materials, to create its replacement textbooks.

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