Am I Being Unfair to Blackboard?

Alfred Essa, The Nose, Aug 10, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Alfred Essa questions his stance in the light of developments in the latest Blackboard patent kerfuffle. Because it appears that iParadigms was in the process of asserting rights it did not have (and Essa looks at the contract and says to iParadigms, "What did you think you were signing exactly?" And Michael Feldstein comments, "one central, salient fact is clear: iParadigms was seeking to assert a patent for educational software."). OK, so iParadigms are just as guilty as Blackboard for contributing to the edupatents mess. Meanwhile, I think Essa quite rightly asks, "But if these APIs are truly 'open', why as a developer do I have to give up ANY rights to Blackboard?" Why indeed? Especially when you know that, if you open up to Blackboard, the company may go out, purchase your rival, and assert your business model against yourself - and you will have signed away your right to complain.
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