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<nettime> POLCAN - Full Correspondence on Thesis Sales
Diana McCarty on 11 Aug 2000 16:30:14 -0000


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<nettime> POLCAN - Full Correspondence on Thesis Sales


--- Andrew Heard <aheard {AT} sfu.ca> wrote: > Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000
11:10:20 -0700
 To: polcan {AT} sfu.ca
 From: Andrew Heard <aheard {AT} sfu.ca>
 Subject: POLCAN - Full Correspondence on Thesis Sales
 

 Oops, when I posted the previous message about the web site selling
 dissertations on line, I inadvertently left out the last part of Ken
 Stewart's message, which contained copies of his correspondence with
 the company selling the material on line.  I'm reposting the full
 message, as the correspondence will be useful for anyone concerned
 about the situation. 

 Regards,
 Andy Heard
 
 ********************************
 
 Dear Polcan Subscribers,

Recently a friend recently discovered, quite by fluke, that an online
company - http://www.contentville.com/ - has been selling my Masters
thesis for about $60.00 US. After contacting the company, I was told that
I would receive royalties for any copies sold. However I am deeply
concerned that royalties will only be shared by those people who contact
the company. Further still, there are bigger issues to consider here,
including possible publication conflicts. For example, will a publisher be
willing to publish a PhD thesis that is already offered on-line? I attach
the following correspondence in chronological order for you information. I
am not sure what actions I will take, but am open to suggestions. 

Yours,
Kennedy Stewart (PhD Cand) 
Government Department 
London School of Economics 
e-mail: E.C.Stewart {AT} lse.ac.uk
 
 1) Initial E-Mail 
 
 It has come to my attention through the grad caucus of the Canadian
Historical Association that theses deposited with the National Library of
Canada have been given/sold to an American company to sell on the
Internet. This is obviously a big problem, as we did not sign away our
rights to control the sale of our work. (I am not sure what the case is
for American theses, but there are many on this site.) Check out the site
- your work may already be there (mine is!). http://www.contentville.com/

According to one grad student from York University, apparently pretty much
everyone who had finished in the last 12 or so years had their theses on
sale;  for faculty who completed their degrees at US institutions it went
back to the 60s.  Please get involved in helping stop this - contact your
graduate faculty, University President, the National Library, anyone you
feel can mobilize to help change the situation.  Either we are properly
informed and authorize (and remunerated for) such a sale of our work, or
it is removed from this (and any) company's possession. What the National
Library's part is in this is not yet known, but this situation may require
a clarification of our rights under the agreement we sign with them. 

Jenea Tallentire  
PhD student, History 
University of British Columbia 
Canada
 
 2) My E-mail to Contentville 
 
 To whom it may concern, 

Before I start legal proceedings, I am offering you the chance to explain
how you think you have the right to sell my Master's thesis without my
permission, or for that matter, without even contacting me. 
  
Sincerely,
Kennedy Stewart (PhD cand.) 
London School of Economics
 
 3)Contentville's Reply 
 
 Dear Mr.Stewart, 
 
Thank you for your e-mail. I am glad you asked first. We appreciate your
concern. We regret that there has been some confusion about our efforts to
bring so much underused, valuable content to the consumer market place for
the first time. Let me assure you, we have no intention of selling
anything in a way that precludes the rights holder from his or her
appropriate share of any revenues we receive. We are selling dissertations
pursuant to a license agreement with Bell & Howell Information and
Learning Company (previously UMI). We have been assured, in our contract
with Bell & Howell, that they have these rights. If it turns out that they
don't and they tell us, we will take your dissertation off of our site. In
this case, we would be delighted instead to sell your dissertation and
negotiate an appropriate royalty with you. Bell & Howell/UMI is taking
phone calls at #1-800-521-0600. Meantime, we are keeping careful records
of all sales by dissertation and author so that we can make all
appropriate payments. 

Sincerely,
Catherine Seda




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