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Thread: No discussion of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator
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    No discussion of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs

    We occasionally get email from the owner of Planetizen asking us to remove content quoted from their annual graduate school guide, even though such quotes may conform to the Fair Use doctrine under US copyright law. Most recently, we were asked to remove references to the 11th and 12th ranked graduate schools from a post.

    From the Fair Use doctrine article of Wikipedia:
    Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders.

    In the past, we vigorously defended publishers making their materials available in electronic form, by suspending users who made offers and requests to share guides and materials that are normally sold, and removing such posts.

    To avoid the threat of future legal action, we ask that there be no more discussion of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs on Cyburbia.

    American Collegiate Schools of Planning Guide to Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning 16th Edition - 2010: free download (.pdf)
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    To Planetizen, I think the following is appropriate.

    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I trust your judgement Dan (and probably better to err on the side of caution), but my read of the thread leads me to conclude we're exercising "fair use" here and nothing more.

    I wonder about U.S. News and World Reports college rankings which are discussed all over the internet in numerous college webforums. Does US News go after sites where discussion of their ranking list takes place? Anybody know?

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I trust your judgement Dan (and probably better to err on the side of caution), but my read of the thread leads me to conclude we're exercising "fair use" here and nothing more.

    I wonder about U.S. News and World Reports college rankings which are discussed all over the internet in numerous college webforums. Does US News go after sites where discussion of their ranking list takes place? Anybody know?
    No they aren't worried about the list getting out. U.S. News does it for the betterment of society (and A LOT of publicity). They do it because they want people to be informed. Planetizen has created a product that has very little to no value, so they try to guard it like Fort Knox to make sure no one knows what it holds unless they waste their money.

    To anyone who reads this: Go to the free link to the ACSP and DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON PLANETIZEN. The ACSP is like U.S. News and World Report. They want the information out there so people can be better informed. They aren't doing this for profit. Just publicity.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    I trust your judgement Dan (and probably better to err on the side of caution), but my read of the thread leads me to conclude we're exercising "fair use" here and nothing more.
    We are. The most recent edited post passed the four-point litmus test for Fair Use. However, we still got a complaint from Planetizen for a post that said "H(coughcough)d was #11", and it's not the first time that happened.

    I just don't want to be the defendant in a copyright law case in a court in California, even if we're in the right.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Planetizen has created a product that has very little to no value, so they try to guard it like Fort Knox to make sure no one knows what it holds unless they waste their money.
    +1.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    I think I've been to the Planetizen website only once in the past 24 months. NOT THAT USEFUL.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    No they aren't worried about the list getting out. U.S. News does it for the betterment of society (and A LOT of publicity). They do it because they want people to be informed. Planetizen has created a product that has very little to no value, so they try to guard it like Fort Knox to make sure no one knows what it holds unless they waste their money.

    To anyone who reads this: Go to the free link to the ACSP and DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON PLANETIZEN. The ACSP is like U.S. News and World Report. They want the information out there so people can be better informed. They aren't doing this for profit. Just publicity.
    Co-sign.

  9. #9

    Opposing POV

    I would like to offer an opposing point of view, to contrast with the opinion of those who argue that the Planetizen Guide does not offer anything of value/information that cannot be obtained for free from the ACSP Guide.

    I have no affiliation whatsoever with Planetizen, but having used both guides, I found that the Planetizen Guide offered several pieces of information which I valued in applying to grad school, pieces of information that I did not find in the ACSP Guide.

    I think potential grad school applicants might want to start with the ACSP Guide, which has a lot of great information, and if they want further information they can consider buying the Planetizen Guide.

    Specifically, the extra info that I found to be useful in the Planetizen Guide includes:

    -Detailed information regarding the magnitude and types of funding available by school. This information, broken out by amount of merit/need-based total funding, share of students receiving funding, and avg. student award, helped me identify programs which might provide significant fellowship funding and could dramatically reduce the cost burden far below the “sticker price”. This makes it possible to distinguish which private schools are likely to actually cost $30-$40k/yr, and which may actually cost a fraction of that b/c they offer substantial partial/full tuition remission/fellowship funding. Seeing the actual numbers in print (School A awards X,000,000 per year in merit-based scholarship/fellowship aid, and XX% of students receive such awards, which works out to X,000 per student,) was very helpful.

    -Detailed information regarding the student body, including UGPA and GRE score ranges, and years to graduation. This information helped me identify programs where I might be competitive for both admission and for funding, and can provide one gauge as to the academic preparedness of the students beyond the simple admissions rate offered in the ACSP Guide. Some students might also use this information to identify “reach” schools. The years to graduation also gives you a sense, for full-time only programs, what proportion of the class is graduating in “normative” time, which can be an important indicator of how well the program is doing in educating students in a timely fashion, offering classes needed to graduate, etc.

    -Quantitatively ranked opinion surveys of planning educators. People can argue all they want about how accurate or relevant opinions/judgments about program quality are to the actual education received by students, but opinions of program quality do, unfortunately, shape the structure of career opportunities for SOME graduates. Yes, you can go to a school that lacks a highly-ranked planning department and receive a great education and land a great job –which is great! – but the reality is that many prospective students want to have a sense of a program’s competitive standing/quality perception in the minds of the field’s experts, and will factor that information into determining where to apply or attend. I found this information to be especially valuable - in fact, I found it interesting that certain schools (which shall remain nameless given the fair use issues that are the point of this thread) that are general , non-planning specific “brand name” prestige institutions sometimes did not fare as well as other schools which do not have the same general cachet in society. Based on the ACSP Guide’s listed (and low) acceptance rates, some of these brand name schools might appear to have very prestigious, desirable or high-ranking planning departments. But the additional survey data offered by Planetizen paints a different picture, as some schools with low acceptance rates faired poorly in the overall ranking and in the opinion survey. In one case, it caused me to seek out a graduate of a certain program through my professional network to find out more about the program and why it was so poorly ranked, and confirmed my decision NOT to apply to that school which, upon further research, appeared to be “all sizzle and no steak”.

    -Student survey comments/feedback. These can also be very useful as a component of the Planetizen Guide, and helped me get a sense of how students candidly evaluate the program they are in, what its qualitative strengths and weaknesses are.

    -Prominent Alumni , Internship Organizations, Affiliated On/Off Campus Groups. This was also very important to me. Certain profiles feature groups I hadn’t heard of that really piqued my interest, and when I looked into some of these internship organizations, I discovered some entities I did not know about, including several where I could see myself working post-graduation. The alumni listings also give you a sense of where the most “successful” students wind up later in their career. Again, all this helps some students “envision” where they might want to go with their career.

    It is unfortunate that Planetizen is being so aggressive on limiting fair use discussion. US News also sells the detail behind their rankings, but gives away the main summary ranking for free. You’d think that Planetizen would be willing to offer some free summary info and allow its fair use, while strictly limiting any dissemination of information that they chose to make subscription/put behind a pay wall.

    Nonetheless, I felt compelled to write in to present an opposing point of view about the usefulness of the guide. I found it to be very helpful and I hope Planetizen continues to produce it.

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