Harvard Coop calls cops on students who wrote down textbook ISBNs

The Harvard Coop bookstore had the police remove students who were writing down the ISBNs of textbooks, in defiance of the store's ridiculous position that ISBNs are "property." Of course, the store is private property (albeit property owned by a co-op that is supposed to be serving Harvard students) and they're free to demand that students leave the premises, but busting students whose "crime" is writing down detailed information about which books Harvard students are required to read in order to get their degree is hardly appropriate for a store that nominally serves the students' interests.

The Harvard Coop called police yesterday after three undergraduates collecting information for a student-run textbook-shopping Web site refused to leave the bookstore. The two Cambridge police officers who arrived allowed the students to continue copying down book identification numbers, which they did for two and a half hours before leaving on their own terms.

The Cambridge Police Department said its officers removed three or four males from the Coop's third floor, where textbooks are sold, at a Coop official's request after receiving a call from the store at 4:34 p.m. But a Crimson reporter and photographer present did not see anyone removed, and the three students collecting data for the Crimson Reading Web site also said they did not witness the police escorting anyone from the floor.