Chinese book distributor apologizes to Yale

Yale has received a formal apology from a Chinese book distributor that was responsible for a book illegally containing the content of five Open Yale Courses.

Because the licenses of courses broadcast through Open Yale Courses preclude third parties from using their content commercially, the Office of the General Counsel contacted the publisher of the book, Shaanxi Normal University Press to resolve the matter, art history professor and Open Yale Courses director Diana Kleiner said in a Wednesday email to the News.

“Yale recently has received a formal apology from Zitu Books, the distributor that falsely claimed copyright in the infringing book and is apparently responsible for the publication of the book,” Kleiner said. “Yale’s General Counsel’s Office, in concert with outside legal counsel in China, is currently working directly with Zitu to resolve the matter to Yale’s satisfaction.”

She added that many retailers have already removed the book from their offerings.

Kleiner said she first learned of the apparent plagiarism through letters from Chinese students and reporters beginning on May 22. Two days later, an article published in the Chinese newspaper Global Times reported that YYeTs, a nonprofit translating group that created the Chinese subtitles of the five courses, was claiming its translations were plagiarized.

According to the Global Times article, a staff member at Shaanxi Normal University Press had claimed to have received permission from Yale before printing a book with transcripts of the five courses. But in some cases, these transcripts were 95 percent similar to the YYeTs translations. University representatives had not granted permission to publish the book and told this to YYeTs, Kleiner said.

A YYeTs representative declined to comment.

The five courses included in the books were economics Professor Robert Shiller’s “Financial Markets,” history Professor John Merriman’s “European Civilization,” philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan’s “Death,” biology Professor Robert Wyman’s “Global Problems of Population Growth” and psychology Professor Kelly Brownell’s “The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food,” Kleiner said.


  • smartypants79

    Well, at least they apologized. What? Lawsuit, people. This attitude towards copyrights, intellectual property rights etc. is another reason why Yale’s close involvement with China is problematic.

  • jnewsham

    What close involvement with China?

  • strauss1

    @jnewsham: Are you blind or just oblivious? Yale-PKU, the Light Fellowship, Bulldogs in Beijing, the Yale-China Association, the Yale 100 delegation, the Yale China Law Center, the hordes of freshmen flocking to CHNS 110 every year, etc etc.: Not to mention Ricky Levin’s policy of appeasement toward Asia. I daresay Yale is the most sinophilic of major U.S. universities.

    “More than 80 different academic collaborations today make Yale and China committed partners in education. As Levin told the Globalist, he was ‘fortunate enough to be ahead of the curve in predicting the rise of China.’

    “So far, 17 schools and departments within Yale have established partnerships with 45 Chinese universities, government agencies, and independent research institutions.”

  • strauss1

    Addendum: the website that’s currently being spammed across the YDN comment boards is registered to an address in Putian, PRC, which is known for its counterfeit footwear. Oh the irony…

  • smartypants79

    So Levin was “ahead of the curve in predicting the rise of China.” To be more accurate, i would say that he is helping to guarantee the rise of China. How much industrial espionage do you think is happening in all the labs across campus? Let’s get real.

  • electric38

    Web sites like “books should be are the coming solution. How much of a patent right needs to be given to a person using taxpayer subsidized roads (to get to school), public education, public TV, public police and fire protection, public reimbursed health etc, etc, etc.

    On line multi-lingual multimedia education for the worlds best (most productive educators should have been standard ten years ago. Why are we struggling with it now?

    We have the technology for the poorest child in the farmost third world country to get better teaching NOW!. How many Einsteins are we letting go to waste out there? Cell towers and cheap tablet computers using digital books are so easy to mass produce. Why are we holding back the potential of the world?

    Hackers need to start focusing in on classrooms that are being published by worldwide universities, to allow the poorest of the poor to benefit as their motivation directs them. Move your hacking to a higher plane. Break down the “old buddy” system and sit back and watch the world quantamly grow through your endeavors. Watch a few films where babys practice swatting flies in cowcrap and garbage dumps.

    Solar energy on rooftops seems to be a more effective method of “teaching a man to fish” rather than giving him a fish.

  • Grandejose3798
    In fact the Chinese book reviewers gave the book a score of 2.1

    Actually many Chinese translated the courses online for free and implanted Chinese transcripts on the video. This is a good deed, but some evil Chinese merchants used this as a way to make profit~

  • Grandejose3798

    If China could really RISE, then it is a good thing for the world. By Rising, I mean not only economically rich or militarily strong, but also China adopts a democratic and fair system, people are happy, but apparently now it’s still in a huge mess.

  • electric38

    The coming heroes of the world will be the hackers of the on line multimedia (multi-lingual) educational course offered by the highest level universities of the world. Wherever a cell tower is available to a poor child in the poorest of countries, the foremost technical courses need to be made available. Envision a poor child covered in pesky flies and mosquitoes with a cheap tablet computer in their hands. Prosecute and terrorize the hacker, but bury them as a hero. It is the last form of earthly slavery, anxiously seeking freedom.
    Hackers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but the shame of withholding education to the possible Einsteins of the world burdened and shackled by poverty. They have the power to offer the world wonderful ideas toward a higher quality of life, but only if they are given the tools and a fair chance to do so. Technology has broken the bonds of allowing education for only the rich and super rich. It has opened the militarily patrolled gates of learning for those that understand the way to the ladders of young curiosity seekers and concerned parents, once the rewards of positive motivation have been realized.
    It should be made a crime to put education out of the reach of any child in the world striving for learning, now that the technologies are here and readily available. Software and hardware producers that put their product cost out of reach of the poor should be stoned, castrated and hacked in public as a lesson for others as to the level of respect they deserve. they withhold a higher quality of life and more promising future for everyone.