Diana McCarty on 10 Aug 2000 19:04:26 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] POLCAN - Full Correspondence on Thesis Sales]


--- Andrew Heard <aheard@sfu.ca> wrote: > Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000
11:10:20 -0700
 To: polcan@sfu.ca
 From: Andrew Heard <aheard@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.

 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
that royalties will only be shared by those people who contact the
Further still, there are bigger issues to consider here, including
publication conflicts. For example, will a publisher be willing to
publish a 
PhD thesis that is already offered on-line? I attach the following
in chronological order for you information. I am not sure what actions I
will take, 
but am open to suggestions.

Kennedy Stewart (PhD Cand) 
Government Department 
London School of Economics 
e-mail: E.C.Stewart@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
Canada have been given/sold to an American company to sell on the
This is obviously a big problem, as we did not sign away our rights to
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 
 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.
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
place for the first time. Let me assure you, we have no intention of
anything in a way that precludes the rights holder from his or her
share of any revenues we receive. We are selling dissertations pursuant
a license agreement with Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company
(previously UMI). We have been assured, in our contract with Bell &
that they have these rights. If it turns out that they don't and they
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
dissertation and author so that we can make all appropriate payments.

Catherine Seda

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