Students given incentive to buy from on-campus bookstore
Students at the American University of Sharjah are not happy with a new university policy that "forces them to pay a Dh1,250 [$340 (but N.B. students at AUS get "international editions" that sell at lower prices than U.S. students pay for the same product)] fee towards textbooks they may only buy at the institution's bookstore." The bookstore is not owned by the university, but it is the only bookstore on campus, and pays a franchise fee to the university.
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[T]he university says the new rule was implemented to discourage infringements on international copyright laws.In the UAE it is quite easy to get someone to make a copy of a copyrighted material. This a way for the university to make a good faith effort to enforce international copyright, and the university is right to conclude that accreditors will hold the university responsible for a good faith effort. It will be interesting to see if other UAE universities follow suit.
"It's a money-stealing scheme," said AUS student Amnah Haddad. "We are forced to pay this money to buy books only from our bookstore, therefore we students cannot buy second- hand books as we used to."
A letter recently sent from the university's Student Accounts Department stated that the rule is an attempt to "abide by international copyright laws which the university must abide by to maintain accreditation".
One AUS student commented: "What if I don't want to get books at all? Am I violating copyright laws? What if I want to buy my books online ... [or] exchange books?"
AUS chancellor Dr Peter Heath said, "Faculty and, less frequently, students have complained for a number of years about the breaches in academic integrity and international copyright rules that result from significant copying of course materials by students. If we as a university do not seek to enforce these rules, then who will?"
Commenting on the shortage of cheaper second-hand books, he said currently there wasn't a large stock of used books because few students in the past have bought new ones. "As a stock of used books grow, we can work with the book store and the student council to develop a plan for how best to make use of them to the advantage of all."