How do I get copyright for my thesis/dissertation? As the author of a thesis or dissertation, you own the copyright to your work. Under U.S. Copyright law, a creator of an "original work" created in a "fixed tangible medium" is immediately and automatically the copyright owner of the work, and your work is protected.
Do I need to register my work with the U.S. Copyright Office? As stated above, your thesis or dissertation is automatically protected under copyright. However, there are some legal benefits to registering your copyright, particularly the right to collect damages in a successful infringement lawsuit. Essentially, if at some point you might want to take legal action in order to protect your work, you should register it with the U.S. Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress.
How do I register my work? In the course of this submission, you can request that ProQuest/UMI file for copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office on your behalf. ProQuest charges a fee for this service; the fee includes the fee assessed by the U.S Copyright office.
You can register for copyright of your final, approved version at Register a Copyright (US Copyright Office). The Register tab is on left-side.
Obtaining copyright permission(s) as required by the Graduate School Checklist may seem tedious and perhaps unnecessary when an item is fully cited and credited to its original author--even if it is your own writing! However, the increasing legal complexity abounds within copyright; past practices are no longer a reliable guide for current/evolving requirements. A sample letter is below.
Need help with asking for permission to use copyrighted materials?
For Graduate Students, our permission template will streamline the process.
Contact the Copyright Officer for help.
Illinois State University
Campus Box 8900
201 North School Street
Normal, Il 61790-8900