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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Blackboard Update

Aug 10, 2006

Eric Goldman and John Ottaviani notes, "The academic community is outraged at the lawsuit. Most of the venom has been directed at the perceived breadth of the patent, which many feel is so broad as to cover any course-based on-line learning management system, including those in existence since the early 1980's."

We know that Blackboard probably hustled down to the patent office just as fast as its little feet could take it after reading of e-learning 2.0. They have already indicated (More) a desire to pursue 2.0 methodologies, and if there were any doubt, this article describing their plans should dispell it.

eeLearning opines (in all lower case) that the patent is good for Blackboard shareholders. "it's an easy argument to make that if blackboard didn't grab these patents, a competitor might beat them to the punch and leave their shareholders with a much less valuable company." It also has a poll asking whether the patent is a good thing.

What is Feldstein's spinmeister telling him? "Already there are grumblings among the Blackboard building blocks community that they shouldn't be contributing code and ideas to a company that is just going to turn around and patent them." D'Arcy Norman says, "If Blackboard wants to recoup some karma, they should sign the patent(s) over to an impartial body, ensuring that the patent is used only as a first strike protection to prevent evildoers from obtaining said patent and obliterating an entire marketplace. So... Who's the best candidate to be handed the patent? IMS? IEEE? Creative Commons? UN?" Me?

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