Amazon takes down Durham students’ theses being sold online

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Amazon has taken down theses written by former and current Durham University PhD students that were being sold on the website without the authors’ consent.

Hundreds of Durham University theses were being sold online under the accounts Durham Philosophy, which has 1200 theses listed available for sale, and Durham Education, which has 114 theses listed. The accounts are not affiliated to or endorsed by the University, and the University has not consented to the sale of any theses on Amazon. 

The authors received no payment for any sales of their work. Durham PhD theses are freely available online at their e-thesis repository but cannot be sold in any format or medium without the permission of the copyright holders.

Other institutions including Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University and Strathclyde University were affected under another account named Surrey Community Thinkers Series. This account listed over 1,900 theses for sale from these institutes and possibly others. This account has also been removed. 

Palatinate understands that Durham University was made aware of theses being sold online since November after theses started to appear online in October 2020, but the PhD students affected were not notified.

The University confirmed that it had been filing Take Down Notices to Amazon, and are “pleased” that the theses have been removed. Students have been encouraged to get in contact with the University in the event of any further cases

A spokesperson for Amazon said the theses were being sold by a third party in violation of its guidelines. 

“Our store maintains content guidelines for books, which address content that is illegal or infringing.

“We remove products that do not adhere to our guidelines and when a concern is raised we promptly investigate it.”

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