Brent Ashley shares the absolutely crazy story of how his daughter, a student at OCAD University in Canada, is taking a class on "Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800" which has a textbook that is required for all students... which costs $180. Now, we all know that textbook prices are absolutely insane these days, but here's where it gets crazier. The text -- and, remember, this is an art
textbook has no images because they couldn't clear the copyrights
This year, however, the textbook for Global VISUAL and Material Culture has no pictures. Students have been told that the publisher couldn’t get the copyright permissions settled in time for the print run, so students will have to read the book, and see the pictures online by following along on their computer.
There is no discount on the $180 price for an ART textbook that has NO PICTURES. Devoid of pictures. Bereft of art. If I am going to have to pay $180 for an art history book that is of no resale value to next year’s students, it had damn well better be an excellent visual reference with hard cover and full colour plates, to keep around for years, festooning my coffee table and that of my heirs.
Students in the class have put up a petition
to protest what they quite correctly call a "sham." It's even more bizarre given that recent court rulings
in Canada would suggest that the images in question would be given pretty broad "fair dealing" protections for the purpose of education. But, just the threat of copyright claims, apparently, are creating an absolutely ridiculous situation.