Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

Daniel on January 16, 2019

Question B

Hi there, could someone please explain why answer B is incorrect? This seems to resolve the debate introduced in the first paragraph and state the conclusion summarized in the final paragraph.

6 Replies

Daniel on January 16, 2019

Sorry, meant to title as option B. Thanks!

Katherine on February 16, 2019

Hi @dannyod,

You are wondering why Answer B is the incorrect choice.

First, pay close attention to what the question is asking. It asks you to choose the answer that expressed the “main point of the passage.” The question does not ask you to pick an answer that may resolve the problem discussed in the passage. Instead, you must search for the answer that best expresses the main point as written in the passage.

Now, let’s turn to the passage. In rather outdated language, the passage discusses the tension between concerns over copyright infringement and the potential of the Web as an open medium of communication. The passage then discusses who ultimately control a document on the Web. By drawing an analogy to outgoing messages on a voicemail machine, the passage concludes that even though one can create a link to a document on another page, the document is still in the control of the document’s owner. An owner can restrict access to a document by creating password protection. Because there are these other means to protect intellectual property, those concerned about copyright infringement should not resort to litigation or changes in the law. Such measures would risk impeding the potential of the Web as a public forum.

Which answer expresses this conclusion? The correct answer is Answer A, which summarizes the main point of the passage expressed in the final paragraph. Links on web pages are not copyright infringement because access to the document is still ultimately controlled by its owner.

You wonder why Answer B is not correct. Answer B does echo the passage in warning that changes to copyright law are ill-advised. However, Answer B goes significantly further than the passage. Answer B suggests that changes to copyright law may be acceptable so long as they amplify rather than restrict the free exchange of ideas. No where in the passage does the author discuss the potential for copyright laws to amplify the free exchange of ideas. While this may be a potential solution to the tension discussed in the passage, this answer presents an idea not considered in the text. Therefore, this is not the “main point” the question asked you to identify.

I hope this is helpful! Let us know if you have other questions!

Daniel on February 16, 2019

Thanks Katherine, that is helpful. A good reminder that language extending beyond what's directly in the passage is probably a red flag for main point questions.

Ravi on February 16, 2019

@dannyod, I'm happy to see Katherine's explanation was helpful. That's right—language that extends beyond what's directly in the passage is almost always a big red flag, so that's great you're tuned into that. Keep up the hard work!

Jasmin on May 29 at 11:59PM

I choose C as my answer choice and wanted some clarity as to why is was wrong.

Ravi on May 30 at 01:19AM

Happy to help.

(C) says, "People who are concerned about the access others may have
to the Web documents they create can easily prevent such access
without inhibiting the rights of others to exchange ideas freely."

We're looking for the main point of the whole passage, and the problem
with (C) is that the author's discussion of controlling access is one
detail that's only discussed in the last paragraph. Thus, it's far too
small in scope to be the main point of the whole passage, so it's out.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions!