A lecturer in philosophy at a UK university discovered that a company has been selling his recent dissertation as a book online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Blackwell’s, complete with a cover.
Richard Elliott, a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London, says “I have given no authorization for use of my work.”
The thought of your dissertation being made available online without your permission might make your blood boil. But what if it was being sold for someone else’s profit? This piece is an account from a UK academic. How would you react? Would your institution back you or would you need to handle it yourself? Does your institution assist former HDR students? Academic paper jacking a new and troubling form of crime.
At this stage I have made contact with a company called Ingram, whom a legal rep at Waterstones notified me is the distributor for the online listings they (Waterstones) post. I have so far requested Ingram immediately remove this material for the listing, and have also requested information from them about the process by which this infringement has come to pass. They have so far replied with: “We are taking the appropriate action and are in the process of removing the infringing title(s) from our distribution feeds. Please note that 1) if the title was in distribution, it may take time for retailers to remove the available status from their website and 2) many retailers may still keep the title listed, but this does not mean it is available to purchase.”
He also says, “I looked up the so-called ‘publisher’ and found hundreds of what might be similar cases of stolen copyrighted PhD materials.”