Blackboard: Bully or Misunderstood?

Al Gore has yet to live down reports that he claimed to have invented the Internet. Now Blackboard is facing criticism from those who say the giant of the course management industry claims to have invented chat rooms. (If you are wondering, Blackboard says it never made such a claim.)

On Thursday, leading advocates for open source systems of course management announced that they were linking up with the Software Freedom Law Center to try to prepare legal and other defenses for attacks they fear will be coming from Blackboard.

“The recent announcement by Blackboard that it is attempting to assert patent rights over simple and longstanding online technologies as applied to the area of course management systems and e-learning technologies, and its subsequent litigation against a smaller commercial competitor constitutes a threat to the effective and open development of software for higher education and the values underlying such open activities,” said the announcement from the Sakai Foundation, which helps dozens of colleges and universities run open source course management systems.

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