[Open-education] ZDNet: Coursera regrets: Students from Cuba, Iran, Sudan banned due to U.S. law

Marieke Guy marieke.guy at okfn.org
Thu Jan 30 13:29:46 UTC 2014

Hi Andre,

I noticed the Coursera post earlier, it's a very sad situation.

My understanding is that the issue Coursera has is that it is 
technically a commercial company.

The ZDNet article says:

"As the organization is not non-profit and does make money from students 
pursuing particular certificates or exams, under U.S. law, Coursera's 
courses are considered services and are therefore subject to 
restrictions as they are considered exports. As of this week, students 
in Cuba, Iran or Sudan cannot log in to course pages or create new 
accounts, but can still browse the course catalog and reach Coursera's 
blog as they are "considered public information rather than services and 
therefore not subject to restrictions."

The Open Knowledge Foundation on the other hand is a not-for-profit 
organisation with a central base in the UK. I'm assuming we are not 
governed by US laws.

I would assume (though I may be wrong) that if the Universities 
moved/copied their MOOCs from Coursera back on to their own sites then 
students in Cuba, Iran and Sudan could access them freely. Or they could 
be hosted elsewhere as Pat suggests. Anyone know any more about this 
that could comment?


On 30/01/2014 13:28, Pat Lockley wrote:
> Only if the OER was hosted solely in the USA - and then logically some 
> one could download it (via CC license) and upload elsewhere.
> On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM, Andre Jaenisch 
> <ryunoki at openmailbox.org <mailto:ryunoki at openmailbox.org>> wrote:
>     Hash: SHA1
>     Hello,
>     you've probably already read it: Coursera, a MOOC provider placed in
>     U.S. has blocked its services for students from Cuba, Iran and Sudan:
>     http://www.zdnet.com/coursera-regrets-students-from-cuba-iran-sudan-banned-due-to-u-s-law-7000025728/
>     The reason: U.S. export law.
>     This raises the question in me, wether this could happen to OER as
>     well.
>     Which law is applied to, say, the handbook?
>     After all, people from several nations worked on it.
>     Regards
>     Andre
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Marieke Guy
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