“It Costs Zero Dollars”: NYU Law Faculty Release Free Textbooks
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“It Costs Zero Dollars”: NYU Law Faculty Release Free Textbooks

[pages flipping] Prof. Barton Beebe: As a law student long ago, I was like flat broke. I couldn’t pay my phone bill, I remember that very clearly. And it seems to me that being able to offer a free textbook, is not gonna solve, you know, all the financial problems of going to law school, but it might at least help a little bit. The title of my book is Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook. It costs zero. Zero dollars, and I really insist that I not make anything from it. It’s at cost, even in its physical paper form. [pages flipping] Prof. Jeanne Fromer: The name of our book is Copyright Law: Cases and Materials, version 1.0. Saving students money it was definitely one of our goals. Yeah, interestingly enough, it provided a great example to talk about in copyright class on the first day. And I probed the students, “why am I giving you this book for free if people need financial incentives to create?” Prof. Christopher Jon Sprigman: So, copyright law
is built on the idea that people engage in creative work for monetary reasons so that they can realize some kind of profit, and copyright law of course
protects that ability to profit by preventing others from copying your work. So that’s not really what motivates us in this project. What motivates us is to provide a good copyright law textbook to students for free, or for cheap for a printed-on-demand copy. And also to help students really learn a discipline, a
part of law that we think is really important and really fun. So that that
was really our motivation, and it’s not really a copyright motivation, somewhat
ironically. Beebe: Saving students money was definitely one of my goals from the very beginning. I’m really gratified to get messages from students around the country telling me, you know, that they’re grateful for the free book that means a lot to me.

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