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Copyright and Fair Use

This guide provides resources and information about copyright and fair use.

Copyright Checklist for Theses and Dissertations

When printing or adapting copyrighted work in your thesis or dissertation, you must seek permission from the rights holder. Permissions can be required even if an item is fully cited and credited to its original author.  

The Copyright Checklist section of the Proposal Approval Form will help you determine what material you may need permission to use. 

Reviewing the Checklist

Here are some common items included in theses and dissertations which often require copyright permissions: 

  • Instruments, tools, questionnaires, surveys 
  • Images, charts, figures 
  • Segments from poems or songs, or entire poems or songs 
  • Significant portions of books or articles (i.e. more than a page)
  • Tests, scales, and measures 

Even if these items are online or widely available, they are often under copyright and require permission to use/reprint. With materials such as instruments, tests, and questionnaires, you are often also seeking permission to not just copy, but also administer or ask questions.  

If you intend to use your own previous work, you may also need to seek permissions if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • It was previously published (or has been accepted for publication) 
  • It was produced for an employer (work for hire) or grant 
  • It was produced with co-authors 

Check any items on the form which you intend to include in your thesis/dissertation. If you checked one or more item, please contact the Copyright Officer. If you are unsure if your intended uses require permissions, please check with the Copyright Officer. 

Completing the Checklist

After you have checked off your intended uses, contact the Copyright Officer. The Copyright Officer (Copyright Librarian) will consult with you to help you determine what permissions may be needed and advise you on how to obtain them. 

  • Provide the form and citations/identifying information for the materials you want to include to the Copyright Officer for review 
  • If you need to obtain permissions, the Copyright Officer will advise you on how to obtain them  
  • Request permissions, if necessary, using the information provided 
  • Once the process is complete, the Copyright Officer will sign off on your copyright checklist  
Adding Material After Initial Proposal Approval 

If you add materials later on in the process which may require copyright approval, please reach out to the Copyright Officer to see if permissions are required. 


For questions about the copyright checklist or obtaining permissions, contact the Copyright Librarian.

Copyright Librarian

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Colby Cilento
Milner Library

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