Here’s an update on the New Media Consortium bankruptcy story (and here are my previous posts, if you’d like to catch up). Several important things have happened over the past week.
Yesterday EDUCAUSE successfully acquired the NMC’s intellectual property. The organization’s president, John O’Brien, posted about this last night after the court action: “I’m pleased to share with you that today the court accepted our offer, agreeing that it was in the best interests of the organization and the NMC community.”
That purchase assigns additional NMC intellectual property to EDUCAUSE, beyond Horizon. EDUCAUSE filed a clarification with the court, clearly naming several other assets:
All of NMC’s interest in all current, past, and archived research, publications, and completed/partially completed projects, including but not limited to the NMC Horizon Project and all ‘Horizon Reports’ all Technology Outlooks, all Strategic Briefs, and all iterations thereof…
The bankruptcy case is still proceeding, from what I can tell. PACER lists the case as “Pending status: Awaiting Trustee’s Report”. Outstanding debts remain, as they weren’t part of the EDUCAUSE purchase, as far as I can tell.
Also on February 14th, the Consortium For School Networking (CoSN) filed a motion asking the court to state if they were selling the K-12 Horizon Report to EDUCAUSE. CoSN helped produce several K-12 editions (for example, the 2016 and 2017 editions). In fact, in their view, and here I’m quoting from court filings, NMC “granted CoSN an unlimited license to use the 2016 K-12 Horizon Report in perpetuity.” Indeed, CoSN asked the court to name that report, “including the 2016 and 2017 K-12 Horizon Reports or future reports”, as “CoSN Intellectual Property”, and also to tell EDUCAUSE not to abuse their trademark.
A few thoughts: as I’ve said elsewhere, EDUCAUSE is doing a very good thing here by saving Horizon and the other reports from either disappearing or being bought by a bad actor. Bravo!
CoSN’s filing: I don’t know enough about that collaboration to assess the claim’s merits. I can imagine the Horizon heritage splitting into two parts, now, with K-12 owned by CoSN (should they purchase it, or just successfully assert they own it already) and post-secondary being in EDUCAUSE’s domain. I don’t know if other entities will follow suit to carve up other Horizon domains, such as nations or professions.
Shrinkage: it looks like the ed tech world’s professional development sphere is down one organization. A few years ago, it lost another when NITLE (where I once worked) died. Possibly we’re following the arc I wondered about in December, whereby the number and scale of professional organizations shrinks.
FOECast: we’re still working. I will have an announcement about an exciting event on this front shortly.
Oh, I should probably add these disclaimers, based on some rumors going around, and on potential whispers:
- I am not a lawyer. I have consulted with law schools and researched the profession as part of my futures work, but have not attended a law school. I do seek legal advice from around a dozen smart lawyers. I do know some brutal lawyer jokes. In following this story, I’m doing the best I can, and welcome all input, criticism, and advice.
- I learn about these things through the open web, and by poking around the official PACER court documents site (which does charge me copying fees for every pdf page I examine). This is the research anyone can do.
- The CoSN move doesn’t connect with me, as I never worked on the K-12 reports. I did work on Horizon for many years, and also helped produced some of the other documents now named in the suit, like the 2017 digital literacy briefing.
- I am not an NMC employee (which would be hard to do in any case, since they’re being liquidated), nor do I attempt to represent the NMC organization or its staff or board members. (Here’s my repeated disclaimer.)
That’s all for now. More updates as things progress.
What do you make of it all?