Your thesis and third party copyrighted material
Once uploaded in our repository, your thesis will become publicly available. Normal copyright rules will apply to your thesis which will no longer be covered by the ‘Fair Deal’ clause that allowed you to use any copyrighted third-party material without permissions, solely for research purpose.
Before submitting your thesis to the library you must have verified that the copyrighted material that you might have included in it is available under a Creative Commons license; or you must have been given by the copyright owner the necessary permissions to reuse it. Good citation and referencing practices are always strongly recommended and will sometimes suffice – but not always.
Some use of copyrighted work without needing to request permission is allowed, for example short quotations. However, there are no hard and fast rules about the meaning of 'short'. In case of doubt, please see the guidance offered by the Intellectual Property Office website, or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The copyright owner may be the author, a publisher, an illustrator etc. Many publishers give information on their websites about who to contact. If the publisher doesn't hold the rights, they will be able to forward your query to the correct person. If you have never written a copyright permission request, you could refer to this suggested wording
Third-party copyrighted materials that are often included in a research degree thesis are:
- figures, table and graphs from journal articles;
- manuscripts and photos from archives;
- images reproducing works of art;
- articles that you have authored or co-authored and are part of your thesis.
If you have reused several images and figures from journal articles, please check that they were published Open Access under Creative Commons. If they were, you will not need to seek with the copyright owner any permission to reuse them. Please note that the fact that the third-party material is available in the internet does not prove that the material is either non-copyrighted or genuinely Open Access or belongs in the Public Domain. It might have been unlawfully uploaded.
Whether you have used a well-known image or an image which is rather obscure, we would recommend to check with the Creative Commons searching tool whether there is a version of that image which has been licensed as CC.
If the articles you authored and need to include in your thesis were not published Open Access, it is very likely that you have waived your copyright to the publisher at the time of the article’s acceptance. This means that, even though you wrote it, you must consider your article as third-party copyrighted material and therefore seek for the permission to reuse it (in part or fully). If you fail to obtain it, you may still be able to include (or link to) the author’s accepted manuscript, which you might have already archived in our institutional repository and linked to your profile page.
In general, when you failed to secure permissions to reuse the copyrighted material included in your thesis, you will need to redact a new version of your thesis tailored for the repository upload, which will no longer include the copyrighted content. As the redaction must not significantly alter the content of your thesis, we recommend you contact us to discuss the most suitable options.
If the removal of the copyrighted material from your electronic thesis compromises the integrity of the whole, it may be best to submit to the Library only the original, awarded version and request that the thesis be not made available online. This means you could either embargo your thesis or restrict the access to it. Please, discuss this with your supervisors before contacting the Library.