- Copyright -

Why We Claim Copyright

One important goal for all our projects is to have our material widely used. There is nothing worse that having NSF money result in materials that sit gathering dust on shelves. We hope that Hands On Physics will be broadly adopted and continually improved by the physics teaching community.
In the past, the conventional wisdom has been that wide distribution is guaranteed by a publisher. The publisher invests in a curriculum, improving its look, adding artwork, and advertising it. New users need to be convinced one at a time in sales booths, at conventions, and through complementary mailings. Then the original book needs to be upgraded with later editions. All this takes time and money that comes from publishers' investments. Publishers will not touch material unless it has a copyright that will protect their investment. The last thing they want is to find non-copyrighted material floating around, undermining their investment. So, we put the copyright on all our material and allow teachers to use these early drafts for field tests.

It may be that the Web will change all this. We may find that free electronic distribution is a more powerful dissemination strategy. The biggest question concerns how the material will be maintained and improved over time once the grant runs out; the equivalent of new editions. We will provide "hooks" where users can add links to additional material. If you and other users add hooks to these materials, they can evolve and grow. Still, it is not clear how any sense of unity and uniformity of treatment could be continued this way. If we can solve these problems, we will probably abandon copyright altogether and simply make HOP freely available on the net.

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