Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harvard Bookstore Apparently Claims Copyright in Prices

The Harvard Crimson reports that university bookstore the Coop has taken to shooing out students who are caught writing down prices, presumably for the purpose of comparison shopping. The President of the Coop, Harvard grad Jerry Murphy, claims that the store considers the prices its intellectual property. I would assume that was an off the cuff remark by Mr. Murphy, and that he hasn't perused the "law" aisle of his bookstore in a while. Prices by themselves are generally not protected matter.

The Coop's informal policy is apparently in response to competition from Crimson Reading, a student-run site that seeks to save students money on their books (and contributes profits to charity, mind you). We've seen this sort of dubious invocation of intellectual property rights in prices before, as when Best Buy twice attempted to use the DMCA to keep various "Black Friday" websites from listing their day after Thanksgiving deals.

Digg!

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