Together, the MIT Press and Harvard Law School Library announce the launch of the “Open Casebook” series. Leveraging free and open texts created and updated by distinguished legal scholars, the series offers high-quality yet affordable printed textbooks for use in law teaching across the country, tied to online access to the works and legal opinions under open licenses.
“As the creator of some of the earliest open online books and communities, the MIT Press is committed to increasing the impact and accessibility of scholarship,” notes Amy Brand, director and publisher, the MIT Press. “We are proud to collaborate with Harvard Law School Library on the Open Casebook series and provide high-quality, low-cost books to law students throughout the United States.”
The first book in the series is “Torts!” by Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Jordi Weinstock, lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. “Torts!” serves as primary text for a first-year law school torts course and maps the progression of the law of torts through the language and example of public judicial decisions in a range of cases. In the book, the authors present cases to students in a different way than in classic casebooks, providing significantly more original judicial opinion than is traditionally offered and featuring helpful reminders, questions, and illustrations to bring these original materials to life. Taken together, the cases within “Torts!” show differing approaches to the problems of defining legal harm and applying those definitions to a messy world.
The Open Casebook series leverages free and open texts created by distinguished legal scholars on Harvard’s H2O platform. Created by Harvard Law School’s Library Innovation Lab, H2O facilitates the building, sharing, and remixing of open-access digital textbooks, with cases drawn from the lab’s companion Caselaw Access Project, which scanned and made freely available access to all American case law. Authors can create their own original books with H2O, finding and adapting existing texts to refine and build upon one another’s work.
The Open Casebook series will include textbooks for all standard first-year law school courses, including upcoming publications on the subjects of contracts and corporations. A digital version of each casebook can be found for free on opencasebook.org.