A Textbook Case of Charity
By Wendy Gelman, J.D., L.L.M.
You are the CEO of Eastlane, Inc., a publicly traded, multinational publisher of
educational textbooks for use in colleges and universities throughout the world.
Eastlane’s most popular and profitable textbook is Great American Literature, written by
Dr. C.R. Breach, the preeminent authority in modern American writings. This text is
used in universities across the nation in heavily attended English literature survey
courses. The text sells new for $210 a copy and is only sold through university book
stores. Eastlane has a corporate policy to prohibit reselling of used texts and has thus far
avoided selling on Amazon and other online book retailers, in an effort to prop up the
price of their text.
It has come to your attention, that three professors at Humongous State University (HSU)
have established a program to assist financially strapped students. Upset about the high
cost and limited availability of Great American Literature, these professors have scanned
the entire text and have set up a website where they have posted the copied text. Before
allowing a student access to the website, the student must demonstrate to the professors’
satisfaction their inability to pay full price for the text. The professors charge each
student $105 for access to the website.
Your general counsel has suggested that you bring a copyright infringement suit against
HSU, the 3 professors and against all students who have accessed their website. Your
management team has consulted with Dr. Breach and he is in favor of bringing the suit.
Your approval is needed to initiate the lawsuit.
1) Identify 6 ethical dilemmas
2) Evaluate how stakeholders would be affected by 6 solutions to your dilemma(s).
3) Discuss 6 pros and cons of alternative courses of action.
4) Recommend 6 action decision.
5) Make sure to provide the rationale for your 6 decision
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