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This guide provides a basic overview of copyright law, fair use, copyright for instructors, and other copyright related resources.

Copyright & Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation [ETD]

As the author of a completed thesis or dissertation, you automatically own the copyright. Below are several resources that will help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities. 

Reusing Your Own Published Work in your ETD

Often, graduate students publish articles before obtaining their degree and would like to use their published materials in their ETD. However, before you can include your published work in your ETD, you must check the terms of your publishing agreement. Many publishers require authors to transfer copyright, meaning that the author no longer retains any rights to use their work. If this is the case, then you will need to request permission from your publisher. 

Using Other's Copyrighted Work

Typically, you need to obtain permission to reuse copyrighted work in your Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD). This applies to any material created and/or previously published by others, including images, figures, tables, text excerpts, and more. Even though your ETD might be for academic or non-commercial purposes, copyright law still applies.

What about Fair Use? 
Some exceptions exist within copyright law, notably fair use, which permits limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Determining fair use depends on the specific circumstances of each case. Here are some resources to aid you in assessing fair use.

How do I request permission to use copyrighted material in my ETD?

Before you can request permission, you have to identify the copyright owner. In conventional academic publishing, authors usually transfer their copyright to the publisher, making the publisher the copyright owner. A publisher's website is a useful starting point for locating the copyright owner. Many publishers offer automated permission request forms, simplifying the process. Below are several resources to assist you with permission requests. 

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Informational Purposes Only

The materials and information on this guide are intended for informational purposes only. CSU Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Please consult the University's Office of the General Counsel or your own attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.


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