Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Student-Created Website Goes Up Against a University's Product

The tension at Yale University over a popular website that makes available student evaluations of courses seems to be subsiding after the university administration backed off its position: that of blocking the private website, which two Yale computer science majors maintain. The website, called Yale Blue Book + (YBB+), a reference to the University's own Yale Blue Book, which provides such course information to students, does so in a less "clunky" way, according to its developers.  The website quickly became popular last semester. Yale, however, alleged that the students, Harry Yu and Peter Xu, were using Yale's information and trademarks without permission. It also claimed that outsiders could gain access to YBB+. It blocked access to the website early this year.

Defenders of the newer website claimed that Yale was violating the First Amendment, and they said so, in the media and on campus. The mainstream media and tech press covered the story (Washington PostTechDirt)

On January 20, Yale "unblocked" the site, and the dean of Yale College noted that "[Q]uestions of who owns data are evolving before our very eyes."

More here from the New York Times.

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