A mandatory $180 art school textbook about "prehistory to 1800" with no pictures, thanks to a lack of mysterious "copyright clearances"

Students enrolled in the Ontario College of Art and Design's Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800 are required to buy a $180 "custom textbook." Despite exclusively covering material that is, by definition, in the public domain, and despite a Canadian Supreme Court ruling that establishes a broad "fair dealing" exemption for educational materials, this year's textbook contains no pictures, because the school and the copyright holders (whatever that means in the context of material from "prehistory to 1800") can't agree on licensing.

In other words, this is a blisteringly expensive art book with no art in it. It will not serve as any kind of lasting visual reference. It's hard to see how it will serve any use at all. And it's mandatory.

Students have taken up a petition to protest the "preposterous" situation.

h1 Copyright and the pictureless Art History textbook (via Techdirt)

(Image: blank book opene, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from pandora_6666's photostream) Read the rest

TSA waste and corruption: the greatest hits

Some highlights from the House Oversight Committee's report on the TSA's finance, courtesy of TechDirt:

* As of February 15, 2012, the total value of TSA’s equipment in storage was, according to TSA officials, estimated at $184 million. However, when questioned by Committee staff, TSA’s warehouse staff and procurement officials were unable to provide the total value of equipment in storage. * Committee staff discovered that 85% of the approximately 5,700 major transportation security equipment currently warehoused at the TLC had been stored for longer than six months; 35% of the equipment had been stored for more than one year. One piece of equipment had been in storage more than six years – 60% of its useful life. * As of February 2012, Committee staff discovered that TSA had 472 Advanced Technology 2 (AT2) carry-on baggage screening machines at the TLC and that more than 99% have remained in storage for more than nine months; 34% of AT2s have been stored for longer than one year. * TSA knowingly purchased more Explosive Trace Detectors (ETDs) than were necessary in order to receive a bulk discount under an incorrect and baseless assumption that demand would increase. TSA management stated: “[w]e purchased more than we needed in order to get a discount...

* TSA intentionally delayed Congressional oversight of the Transportation Logistics Center and provided inaccurate, incomplete, and potentially misleading information to Congress in order to conceal the agency’s continued mismanagement of warehouse operations.. * TSA willfully delayed Congressional oversight of the agency’s Transportation Logistics Center twice in a failed attempt to hide the disposal of approximately 1,300 pieces of screening equipment from its warehouses in Dallas, Texas, prior to the arrival of Congressional staff..

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