What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to creators of "original works" that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as your ETD. See the other tabs in this box for more information about copyright and related concepts.
What if I have questions about copyright?
Please contact the Digital Scholarship Librarian. Copyright is a complicated subject. The Digital Scholarship Librarian will be able to answer your questions.
Who owns the copyright to my work?
As the author of your ETD, 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?
Your ETD is automatically protected under copyright. However, there are some important practical and legal benefits to registering your copyright, particularly the right to collect "statutory 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.
How do I register my work?
Students have two options:
What else do I need to know about copyright when preparing my ETD?
If you do not do these things, you may be committing copyright infringement and/or plagiarism. Please see the Permissions tab in this box for help seeking permission to use materials that are under copyright.
When using copyrighted material in your own work, determine whether you need permission:
Generally the author owns the copyright, but not always. For example, dissertation research may have been done in a lab with grant funding obtained by the faculty member advising the dissertation. Or, chapters within the dissertation may have been accepted or published as journal articles.
When seeking to include the text of a survey instrument in your thesis or dissertation, make sure you obtain permission if the instrument is not in the public domain or openly licensed (e.g. Creative Commons licensed). The permission to use that you may have obtained at the beginning of your research does not necessarily give you permission to reprint the instrument itself, especially when the instrument is commercially produced. Check your license and seek permission when necessary.
Survey instruments may need to be redacted from your ETD if permission is not sought. In this case, you may be able to include a representative sample of survey items, or simply provide a citation to the instrument for your reader.
Your analysis of survey results and selective inclusion of information about or quotes from the survey instrument in your text should not require permissions. Check your license to the instrument if you are unsure.
Contact the Digital Scholarship Librarian for help with survey instruments.
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of "original works" that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Copyright does not protect ideas; copyright protects the expression of ideas.
• To reproduce the work (i.e. to make copies);
• To prepare derivative works (i.e. to make a movie from a book or to translate a work into another language);
• To distribute copies publicly;
• To perform the work publicly (i.e. a play or movie);
• To display the work publicly; and
• In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
The owner of the copyright may transfer all or part of these rights to others.
Subject to some exceptions described in this guide (including fair use), if a person exercises any of these rights in use of another’s work without permission, the person may be liable for copyright infringement.
Public Domain works are not restricted by copyright and thus do not require permission to use. In general, either the copyright has expired, or the work was intentionally created to be in the Public Domain (for example, works created by the US government are in the public domain). Copyright expiration depends on a number of complicated factors. Please contact the Digital Scholarship Librarian with questions regarding Public Domain.
Creative Commons (CC) is an alternative-licensing scheme. It provides some or all of the protection of copyright. There are six difference license types, each having its own label that state the terms of the license. If you see a Creative Commons License in one of your sources, check the label to find out what is required for you to use the work.
What is Open Access?
"Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment." (SPARC)
Open Access is one of the publishing options available to Duquesne ETD students. It is useful to learn about Open Access if you are interested in publishing your ETD as Open Access.
By art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, and JakobVoss (http://www.plos.org/) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Fair Use is an exception granted under Section 107 of US Copyright Law. To qualify for fair use, there are 4 factors use which are "weighed." The more factors in favor of Fair Use, the more likely it is that you qualify. Be aware that every creator has a different idea of what they will consider Fair Use. It is ultimately the prerogative of a US judge to determine whether a use is fair use. When in doubt, ask permission!
The 4 factors are:
The above is the exact passage from section 107. Consult the Duquesne Fair Use Checklist for help in determining if you qualify for Fair Use.