Graduate Thesis Submission Guide
- Thesis Guide
- Managing References
- Database Pro Tips
- Avoiding Plagiarism This link opens in a new window
- Discoverability, Embargo, and the Scholarly Conversation
- Open Access Images
- Requesting Permission for Copyrighted Materials
- Formatting Requirements
- Title & Signature Pages
- Submitting Your Thesis
- Thesis Collection This link opens in a new window
Copyright and Your Thesis
Respecting copyright — and understanding the basics of copyrighted-related issues — is an important aspect of your thesis-writing process and an issue that will continue to arise throughout your academic and creative career. We know copyright can be intimidating and hard to make sense of: after all, discussions of copyright often stray into complex legal, creative, and ethical terrain. While it isn't necessary for you to be a copyright expert, it is essential that you understand copyright issues as they relate to including and referencing the work(s) of others in your thesis.
With that in mind, here are our overarching recommendations as you consider which third party materials to include in your thesis:
- Use open access works and/or works covered by Creative Commons Licenses
- Ensure your use of copyrighted materials counts as "fair use" (in other words, repurpose, reinterpret, or otherwise "transform" the copyrighted work in question)
- Request permission for copyrighted works
- Remove potentially problematic materials entirely from your thesis
We recommend you follow the above guidelines in the order that they're listed ; that is, seek out open access works first to avoid any potential copyright infringements. If you are unable to do so, seek fair use for copyrighted materials. If each of these strategies is unsuccessful, your last resort may be to request permission for copyrighted work[s], or to remove problematic third party content from your thesis entirely if this option fails. The following three subpages — Open Access Images, Fair Use, and Requesting Permission for Copyrighted Materials — breaks each of these issues down into greater detail.
- Image Use and Copyright for your Thesis (Slides)
Why Does Copyright Matter?
For the purposes of your thesis, you don't need to be an expert in copyright law. However, understanding the major issues and questions around copyright will help you make informed decisions about your thesis and protect it from copyright challenges once it's published. Understanding and respecting copyright is also about giving credit where it's due, an essential aspect of Pratt's Academic Integrity Policy . So while respecting copyright has to do with protecting your thesis from infringement challenges, on a deeper level it also has to do with pursuing your academic and creative work with integrity and acknowledgement of other's contributions.
The following excerpt from Kenneth Crews' article Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis summarizes this sentiment well:
" Finishing your dissertation is exhausting and gratifying. You have invested countless days of research, followed by hours of writing late into the night. You made exciting breakthroughs, and you aspire to a career of further research. You probably did not expect to indulge in copyright at this stage of your study. However, attention to copyright can help avoid pitfalls and reveal opportunities to further your scholarly goals. Given the way that the law operates, copyright law most certainly protects your dissertation as well as the quotations, photographs, music, diagrams, and many other works that you have included in your doctoral study. The decisions you make about copyright can directly affect the quality of your work, your ability to publish your dissertation, and your opportunities for building upon your years of research throughout your career. Attending to the fundamentals of copyright can be important for your scholarship, regardless of your discipline or field of expertise ." (Crews, 2013).
The following checklist — also summarized from Kenneth Crews' article — should be referred to throughout the process of researching and writing your thesis. Though you might be tempted to put these considerations off until later, remember: any preparation or planning done early on will make things much easier as you get closer to submitting your thesis.
- Do a thorough sweep or your thesis draft and identify all third-party materials you plan to include in your final project. Common third party materials include images, sources from the Web, and long quotations (over 1.5 pages, single-spaced) from published works.
- Ask yourself, " Are any of these materials open access ?" If yes, they have no copyright restrictions.
- Ask, " Does my inclusion of this material count as fair use ?"
- Ask, " Do any of these materials have Creative Commons Licenses ?" Creative Commons Licenses allow for free distribution of otherwise copyrighted works (with proper attribution).
- For any materials that don't meet the above conditions, ask, " Do I have permission to use these ?" If not, refer to the "Requesting Permission for Copyrighted Materials" page of this guide.
- Ask, " Am I including any materials that I've created but that have been previously published elsewhere ?" Even if you are the original author of these materials, you will need permission to include them in your thesis.
Resources and Further Reading
We've provided relevant excerpts from these resources throughout this guide, and have also included them in their entirety below for you to review.
- ProQuest Copyright Guide The following guide by ProQuest offers guidelines for avoiding copyright infringement and introduces the kinds of materials or sources that require copyright permissions. This document also includes a sample Permission Form and instructions to follow when requesting permission from copyright owners.
- ProQuest - Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis This article by Kenneth Crews offers a more extensive overview of copyright and its significance, before discussing the fundamentals of copyright — both protecting your own and respecting others' — as they relate to your thesis. Though not required reading, Crews' article has a wealth of useful information that will strengthen your understanding of copyright as you research and write your thesis.
- Pratt Institute Academic Integrity Policy Copyright issues directly relate to Pratt's Academic Integrity Policy, as each stress the importance of crediting and acknowledging the contributions other writers, artists, and thinkers have made to your work. "Giving credit where it's due" is a central aspect of academic integrity and an essential element of your thesis.
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- Last Updated: Oct 5, 2023 3:02 PM
- URL: https://libguides.pratt.edu/thesisguide
Images for Dissertation
Congratulations on your forthcoming dissertation! Please note that the Visual Resources Center (VRC) staff are not lawyers and we cannot provide you with legal advice. However, the VRC can provide you with helpful information about including images in your dissertation.
This guide outlines the general workflows associated with tracking your images you’d like to use for future publication, and outlines the ways the VRC can collaborate with you to support your dissertation. We invite you to begin discussing images for your dissertation with the VRC as early as possible, including at the dissertation proposal phase. Our services and resources for managing personal image archives may be useful for your fieldwork and research. The latest we can begin collaborating with you on images for your dissertation is one quarter before your dissertation will be filed with the Dissertation Office. You are welcome to work with us in some or all elements of the lifecycle of your dissertation—it is not required to opt-in to all aspects. Likewise, the different components do not necessarily need to proceed in a particular order, and some work can happen simultaneously or in parallel with other phases of the workflow.
This service is offered to graduate students in the University of Chicago Humanities Division as a parallel to our Images for Publication service , which is available to graduate students and faculty in the University of Chicago Humanities Division. [Last updated 6/3/22]
Copyright Information Center
Check-In with the VRC
Book an appointment to discuss your dissertation project and how the VRC can help you move forward with images. Before our meeting, we’ll review any materials you can share and make some notes. We can help conduct copyright assessments, direct you to resources, and do some light research into potential copyright holders. However, we cannot send permissions requests on your behalf.
Before meeting with a VRC staff member, please share any materials you’ve assembled, including an image list, captions, image files themselves, etc.
Create a Spreadsheet
The VRC recommends tracking the images used in your dissertation in a spreadsheet, where you can include information about each image, including the caption, the copyright status, a fair use justification (where appropriate), the image size, and other notes.
The VRC uses this template —if you have a Figure List for your dissertation, the VRC can import that into a spreadsheet for you. If you’d like to start your own spreadsheet, you can make a copy of the template and adapt/expand it for your own purposes. The second tab of the template defines the role of each field in the template.
Choosing to file your dissertation with all, some, or no images is ultimately up to you. The VRC can offer advice about images you may want to include or exclude. Regardless of which images are submitted with the dissertation, tracking all of the images in the spreadsheet will help in selecting images for future publications.
When you go to publish the dissertation as a book, your publisher will likely ask you to complete a similar spreadsheet known as a permissions log. The VRC’s template was designed with publishers’ permission logs in mind, which will hopefully set you up nicely to pursue any official permissions for the book project.
Keeping track of your complete research images sooner rather than later will be an important part of managing your personal image archive . If you haven’t been tracking images previously, doing this work at the dissertation filing stage will save you a lot of time when it comes time to publish this as a book or article, etc. Platforms like Tropy, Airtable, Google sheets, etc. can also easily export information into templates to track your dissertation/publication information.
Citing each work properly, and in sufficient detail, is critical. When using photographs of other works (e.g., paintings, sculptures, other works of art), it is necessary to assess the copyright status of both the underlying work itself and the photographic reproduction of the work. In such cases, it’s important to fully cite where your image of the work came from , either in the caption or in your own records . For example, if an image was scanned from a book, you may or may not need to provide a full citation of the text, including page number. If it’s from an archive, include all identifying information available to you, including the name of the papers, series, box, folder, etc. If you obtained the image from a website, individual, or institution, it is important to note that as well. Include rights information, such as Creative Commons licenses or other permissions notes. Note that the original source of the image should be included in the citation. If the image was posted to a third-party website (such as a blog), you will need to find where the website sourced it from.
We recommend you review the University-Wide Requirements for the Ph.D. Dissertation , whi ch includes formatting requirements, and “ Citing Images ,” in Images: A Guide to Visual Resources which is maintained by Arts Bibliographer Nancy Spiegel in collaboration with VRC staff. Additionally, Chapter Three in the Chicago Manual of Style includes a detailed discussion of captions for art works and examples of usage. University of Chicago users have access to the full text online using the Quick Link on the Library home page . The VRC also recommends the CAA Publications Style Guide , which provides instructions on formatting captions as well as robust examples for a variety of work types, including architecture, book illustrations, engravings, installation views, interiors, manuscript illuminations, murals, paintings, performances, photographs, scrolls, sculptures, video games, video stills, and woodcuts. There may also be discipline and/or sub-field specific conventions and best practices as to what information should be included as part of a source statement, and we rely on you and your faculty to be familiar with those conventions. The VRC invites you to explore our resource on Image Citations and Captions , which includes also a discussion of citational ethics.
Creative Commons Licenses
Many museums and other image archives are making digitized versions of the collections available through Creative Commons licenses . Creative Commons (CC) provides six different license options that allow institutions to grant users certain permissions to use their work under copyright law and allow users to quickly identify what they can do with particular works.
CC BY-NC 4.0
The CC BY-NC 4.0 license is frequently used for cultural heritage materials.
For content made available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license, users may “copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format” if the image is appropriately cited and if the use is for non-commercial purposes.
Proper attribution under the CC licenses means that you must provide the name of the creator, the title of the material if supplied, a copyright notice, a license notice, and a link to the material. It is important to read, understand, and comply with the attribution terms of the applicable CC license.
Your use of the material is scholarly, not commercial. However, your dissertation will be available through ProQuest dissertation publishing. ProQuest is a commercial organization, not a non-profit. ProQuest can make and sell copies of your dissertation if individuals request a copy. It is up to you to assess the copyright and decide if your use is in the spirit of the license and whether to include the material in the filed dissertation or not.
Next, you must conduct a copyright assessment and/or fair use analysis for each image. If you’d like, VRC can assist with an initial review of the images you intend to include in your dissertation. We would assess the copyright status of the work and of the image separately, because in some cases the rights holder for the work depicted in the image may be separate from the image rights holder. Please note that you will need to carefully review this initial assessment. Where permissions are required, the VRC can help advise with your strategy and language, but you will need to coordinate all licensing and permissions efforts with the relevant copyright holders.
Be sure to take note of any copyright statements, licenses, or other rights information provided by the image source. In addition to needing to include that information in the caption or citation, we recommend that you also vet the information provided against your own knowledge of art and image copyright using the recommended resources below. Occasionally, individuals or institutions may attempt to claim rights over the work or the image when it is in the public domain or when there are no additional rights to claim. (For example, claiming copyright over a reproduction image made from a scan or photograph of a 2D work of art that’s in the public domain, or supplying a CC-BY-NC license over a work that is in the public domain and should have been presented under a CC0 license instead.)
Resources for Assessing Copyright Status
- Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
- Digital Copyright Slider: Is it Protected by Copyright? For works published in the U.S.A.
- Digital Image Rights Computator
- Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities (ProQuest)
Sample Language for Noting Work Copyright Status
The underlying work depicted in the image (ie, the work of art) will typically be listed as Copyrighted or Public Domain. Include the full rights statement provided by the institution in the work or copyright status field, as appropriate, and in the caption as well.
Sample Language for Noting Image Copyright Status
The image reproduction of the artwork may have its own copyright considerations. Some sample language for noting image copyright status include:
- Photograph by the author (you are the copyright owner of a photograph you have made)
- Copyright statements or credit lines from the copyright owner, such as “© Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv / Ann u. Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York?”
- N/A: This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional work of art.
- N/A: CCO license (or similar Creative Commons designation)
- N/A: Open access use
Other Permissions Considerations
There might be additional considerations in addition to copyright-related issues that you may need to make. For example, if your photographs have people depicted in them, you may want to request their permission for publishing their likeness. Additionally, if your images depict sensitive materials or cultural objects, they might require additional permissions. The VRC maintains a page on Ethical Considerations for Images that we invite you to explore for more information.
Fair Use Analysis
For works and/or images that are copyrighted, conduct a fair use analysis to see if you can justify your use of the image in your justification. The VRC follows the CAA Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts . Section One of the code outlines the situations, principles and limitations of using images fairly in analytic writing.
If you intend to use an image under fair use in your dissertation, you should prepare a justification for that claim of fair use in your tracking spreadsheet.
The United States Copyright Act provides a framework to determine whether the use of copyrighted materials constitutes a “fair use” based upon a consideration of the following Four Factors:
- Purpose and character of your use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- The nature of the copyrighted work you want to use;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion of the work that you used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
- The effect of your use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The United States Copyright Office provides useful guidance for understanding this analysis.
Where you plan to claim fair use of a copyrighted work, you will want to provide a justification supporting your analysis. We recommend consulting the guidance outlined in the CAA Code of Best Practices for Fair Use when drafting your analysis. Include as many phrases that are relevant to your specific use.
- The use of the work in its entirety is crucial to the argument outlined on pages x-y because 123. The scan is a high-fidelity copy of a work published in 1975, with accurate color and cropping. The image size is 1536 pixels on the long edge and 72 ppi, a resolution suitable for use in papers, PDFs, and classroom projection but not reproduction. I have cited the image in the caption, figure list, and within the text.
For images that are copyrighted and where fair use does not apply, you will need to identify copyright holders and obtain permission to publish these images in your work.
Please note—even where you believe you have a defensible argument that you use of an image would qualify for “fair use”, you may still wish to pursue getting permission to publish images, for example, in order to maintain a good relationship with an artist or institution or where you are aware that a rights holder is especially aggressive in taking action against unlicensed use of its copyrighted material.
Requesting and Obtaining Permissions
There may be copyrighted images for which you need or want to request permission from the copyright holder to use the images in your Dissertation. You will want to send a written request for permission to the copyright holder or its representatives (such as ARS ). Make sure to include information requested by the press including print run, distribution, online access, etc. Save a copy of your correspondence to a central folder, and indicate in your permissions log when you contacted them for permission. Set a reminder to follow-up on your requests in 2 weeks if you have not yet heard back from them.
If you need to draft a letter or email to request permission, sample language can be found in Susan Bielstein’s Permissions, a Survival Guide (2006) .
Create a Shared Box Folder for Images
We recommend setting up a shared Box folder for your publication and sharing it with VRC staff. This will allow us to review your images, share new image files with you if necessary, and collaborate easily.
Image Quality Assessment
Review the image quality and specifications of each image based on the guidelines from the press. For example, many press guidelines suggest the following:
- Color images: tiff files that are at least 300ppi and printable at 4x6” or larger
- Grayscale images may require higher ppi than color images
- Line drawings: may be required in vector format, such as .indd files from Adobe InDesign or .ai files from Adobe Illustrator. The VRC and/or Academic Technology Services may be able to assist with drawings. Please write to the VRC for more information.
- Film stills captured from DVD and Blu-Rays may need to be artificially upsampled in order to meet the press specifications, although if you can create them on a 27” desktop monitor rather than a laptop screen they may be sufficient size for publication.
VRC staff may be able to assess the quality of your images for you if you do not have access to Adobe Photoshop and depending on the size and scope of your project.
If your images aren’t publication quality, they may still be sufficient for inclusion in your dissertation. For example, lower-resolution images, including jpegs or pngs, may look good in the PDF of the filed dissertation but may not be high enough quality to submit to an editor for a print run of a published book. Please write to the VRC to discuss requesting new images and/or help editing existing images. he VRC can also assist with creating custom digital images for your publication, including line drawings, image stitching, maps, and diagram creation.
Note: Resolution is a relative value. Image resolution and image size are inversely proportional. Knowing the output or print size required by the publisher will help assess whether your images are up to publication quality. We recommend reviewing image size in Adobe Photoshop. Their Image Size tool allows you to explore what size images can be printed at different resolutions by unchecking the “Resample” button. Downsampling (ie, making an image smaller) is acceptable, but we do not recommend upsampling (ie, adding arbitrary pixels to make an image larger).
For use in a PDF, we typically look for at least 1500 pixels on the long edge of the image at at least 72 ppi. If you have access to Adobe Photoshop, this can be checked under Image Size, otherwise if you have the image saved to your computer you can find the dimensions under “Get Info” or “Properties.”
Add Your Images to LUNA
If the images you’re publishing are relevant to future teaching and research, but aren’t yet well-represented in the departmental image collection, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate and we invite you to contribute your images to the Art History Department Image Collection in our LUNA database. If you’re interested in pursuing this collaboration, we can embargo the images for up to 5 years before making them available in LUNA if you would like.
- USC Libraries
- Research Guides
Using Images and Non-Textual Materials in Presentations, Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
- Documenting and Citing Images
- Finding Images - Select Sources
Documenting and Citing Images/Photographs and Their Sources
Please note that this is advice on best practices and considerations in documenting and citing images and non-print materials. It does not represent legal advice on obtaining permissions.
Generally, images copied from other sources should not be used without permissions in publications or for commercial purposes. Many American academic institutions require graduate students to archive their finished and approved theses/dissertations in institutional electronic repositories and/or institutional libraries and repositories, and/or to post them on Proquest's theses database. Unpublished theses and dissertations are a form of scholarly dissemination. Someone else's images, like someone else's ideas, words or music, should be used with critical commentary, and need to be identified and cited. If a thesis/dissertation is revised for publication, waivers or permissions from the copyright holder(s) of the images and non-textual materials must be obtained. Best practices also apply to materials found on the internet and on social media, and, properly speaking, require identification, citation, and clearance of permissions, as relevant.
Use the following elements when identifying and citing an image, depending on the information you have available . It is your responsibility to do due diligence and document as much as possible about the image you are using:
- Artist's/creator's name, if relevant;
- Title of the work/image, if known, or description;
- Ownership information (such as a person, estate, museum, library collection) and source of image;
- Material, if known, particularly for art works;
- Dimensions of the work, if known.
The Chicago Manual of Style online can be searched for norms on appropriate ways to caption illustrations, capitalize titles of visual works, or cite print materials that contain images.
Including images/photographs in a bibliography:
Best practice is to not include images within a bibliography of works cited. It is common, instead, to create a separate list of images (or figures) and their source, such as photographer (even if it's you) or collection. It may be useful to also include location, e.g., museum, geographic reference, address, etc.
Examples of Documenting Images
The image below is scanned from a published book. It can be used in a critical context within a presentation, classroom session, or paper/thesis, as follows:
[ Figure 1. This photograph from 1990 shows the Monument against Fascism designed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz, Hamburg, 1986-1993. Image from James Young, ed., Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History (New York: Prestel, 1994), 70]
If you need to use this image in a published work, you will have to seek permission. For example, the book from which this image was scanned should have a section on photo credits which would help you identify the person/archive holding this image.
The image below was found through Google Images and downloaded from the internet. It can be used in a critical context within a presentation, classroom session, or paper/thesis, as follows:
[Figure 2. This image shows the interior of Bibliotheca Alexandrina designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta in 2001. Image downloaded from https://mgkhs.com/gallery/alexandria in March 2016.]
If you want to use this image in a published work, you will have to do your best to track down its source to request permission to use. The web site or social media site where you found the image may not be an appropriate source, since it is common for people to repost images without attribution. Just because "everyone does it" does not mean that you should be using such materials without attribution or documentation. In this specific example, you may need to write to the photographer or to the architecture firm. If you have done due diligence and were unable to find the source, or have not received a response, you may be able to use an image found on the internet with appropriate documentation in a publication.
The image below was downloaded from a digitized historic collection of photographs held by an institutional archive. It can be used in a critical context within a presentation, classroom session, or paper/thesis, as follows:
[Figure 3. In the 1920s the urban landscape of Los Angeles started to change, as various developers began building multi-family apartment houses in sections previously zoned for single family dwellings. Seen in this photograph by Dick Whittington is the Warrington apartment building, which was completed in 1928, surrounded by older single family structures. Downloaded from the USC Digital Library in February 2016]
I f you plan to use this photograph in a publication, seek permission from the library/institution from whose digital archive you downloaded the image. Contact information is usually found in the record for the image.
The image below was taken by the author. It can be used in a critical context within a presentation, classroom session , paper/thesis, or a publication* as follows:
[Figure 4. Genex Tower, also known as West City Gate, is a residential tower located in New Belgrade. This example of late 20th century brutalist-style architecture was designed in 1977 by Mihajlo Mitrović. Photographed by the author in 2013.]
*Please note, if you re-photographed someone else's photograph or a work of art, or if you re-photographed a published image, you may not be able to publish your photograph without first seeking permission or credit for its content. If you have done due diligence and were unable to find the source or have not received a response, you may be able to use your image with appropriate documentation.
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- Last Updated: Jan 19, 2023 3:12 PM
- URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/fair_use
Using Images in Publications
Many scholarly publications are enhanced with images, ranging from reproductions of fine art to graphs showing the results of scientific research. Including images in books and articles can complement the text, visually demonstrate the author's analysis, and engage the reader. Using images in publications, however, raises copyright issues, which can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. To help authors navigate this process, publishers often provide specific guidance, including what rights must be requested, acceptable file formats, image resolution, etc. See Requesting 3rd party Permissions from Oxford Journals or Image Guidelines from Johns Hopkins University Press as examples.
The primary issues that you need to aware of when incorporating images in your publication are:
The right to publish a copyrighted image is controlled by the copyright owner, so each copyrighted image that you use must have permission or fall within an exception to the general copyright statue, such as public domain, fair use, or open access. Copyright permission fees are sometimes waived or reduced for scholarly publications; if not, however, they can be quite expensive as well as time-consuming to obtain. We recommend that you begin the permissions process early to avoid any last-minute complications that may delay publication of your work. In addition to copyright permission, some museums and other providers of images charge a fee for the production or use of a digital image from their collections, even if the underlying work is in the public domain. Like permissions fees, use fees are sometimes waived or reduced for scholarly publications.
High resolution images
Publishers will require a high resolution image for publication (usually at least 300 ppi). These may come from museums, archives, other collections, your own work, or suppliers of stock photos. There may be a fee assessed for use, the amount of which can vary significantly depending on who is supplying the image and how you are using it.
The cost of printing images can be substantial for the publisher, so be sure to discuss with your editor how many images they will publish, whether they will be in color, and whether a subvention will be required if the manuscript contains a large number of images.
Privacy and publicity rights
If you have a photograph with people in it, there may be privacy or publicity rights that need to be addressed.
- Susan Bielstein, Copyright Clearance: A Publisher's Perspective (2005) (article begins on page 19)
- Susan Bielstein, Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property (2006) (ebook - Georgetown NetID required for off-campus access)
- Lois Farfel Stark, Obtaining Image Permissions for Your Book: An Author’s Perspective (2018)
If you can find a usable image in a book or journal article published before 1927, it will be in the public domain , and therefore free of any copyright restrictions. Certain images published between 1927 and 1989 may also be in the public domain, depending on if they were published with a copyright notice and if the copyright was renewed. For more information, use this public domain chart or contact [email protected] .
Works of the United States government are also in the public domain and may be used freely.
Some museums, libraries, and archives make public domain images freely available with few or no restrictions. Read more in the Finding Images section.
Open Access / Creative Commons
Wikimedia Commons has a large collection of images that are licensed using the Creative Commons licensing system . Restrictions, if any, are listed with the image. It is important to recognize that if you use Wikimedia, you are relying on copyright information provided by the person uploading the image. You should review the copyright information carefully to be sure it appears to be accurate.
Many of the licenses in Wikimedia permit noncommercial uses only. The definition of noncommercial for purposes of the CC BY-NC license is, “NonCommercial means not primarily intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation.” Creative Commons provides some further guidance on how to interpret the NC license.
Under certain circumstances, publishers may be comfortable with relying on fair use when publishing images accompanying scholarly works.
The guidelines in the College Art Association’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts set out the fair use arguments for using art for educational purposes:
PRINCIPLE In their analytic writing about art, scholars and other writers (and, by extension, their publishers) may invoke fair use to quote, excerpt, or reproduce copyrighted works, subject to certain limitations:
- The writer’s use of the work, whether in part or in whole, should be justified by the analytic objective, and the user should be prepared to articulate that justification.
- The writer’s analytic objective should predominate over that of merely representing the work or works used.
- The amount and kind of material used and (where images are concerned) the size and resolution of the published reproduction should not exceed that appropriate to the analytic objective.
- Justifications for use and the amount used should be considered especially carefully in connection with digital-format reproductions of born-digital works, where there is a heightened risk that reproductions may function as substitutes for the originals.
- Reproductions of works should represent the original works as accurately as can be achieved under the circumstances.
- The writing should provide attribution of the original work as is customary in the field, to the extent possible.
Your own work
If you have your own high resolution photograph, you may use it freely since you own the copyright in your photograph. If, however, your photograph is of a copyrighted work of art, permission of the artist will be required unless it is a fair use . Note that many museums do not allow photography of works in their collections, so obtaining your own image of a work of art may not be an option. While architectural works are subject to copyright protection, photographs of publicly viewable buildings may be used. 17 U.S.C. § 120(a) .
If your image does not fall into any of the above categories, you will need to request permission from the copyright holder for use of the image. You may be able to obtain permission from one of the sites listed in the next section, or you may need to request permission from the artists or their representatives. The Artists Rights Society represents the intellectual property rights interests of visual artists and their estates worldwide and covers works in private collections as well as museums and galleries. ARS has a request form for permissions requests. Note that ARS handles permission requests only and does not supply images of the works.
For more general information on requesting permission, visit our Requesting Permission page.
Museums, libraries, and archives.
Some museums, libraries, and archives have collections of public domain images available for use in scholarly publications. The content of the collections and the permitted uses vary among institutions. Many do not allow images to be used as cover art since that is usually considered to be a commercial use, and some limit use to print publications. Below is a list of libraries and museums that make works available with few or no restrictions.
- British Library - The British Library’s collection on flickr allows access to millions of public domain images from the Library's collections. Higher quality images, if required, are available for purchase through the British Library. For more information, visit the Library's Images Online page.
- J. Paul Getty Museum - The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. More information about the content of the collections is available on their Open Content Program page.
- Library of Congress - Prints and Photographs - This collection has over 1,200,000 digitized images from the Library's collections. Rights information is available for each image - look for the field marked "Rights Advisory." Many collections have no known restrictions on use. For further information about using the collection, read the Copyright and Other Restrictions That Apply to Publication/Distribution of Images . Information on restrictions on use by collection is also available.
- National Gallery of Art - NGA Images is a repository of images presumed to be in the public domain from the collections of the National Gallery of Art. Users may download— free of charge and without seeking authorization from the Gallery— any image of a work in the Gallery’s collection that the Gallery believes is in the public domain and is free of other known restrictions.
- New York Public Library - This collection contains more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps and other public-domain items from the library’s special collections in downloadable high-resolution files. High resolutions downloads are available with no permission required and no restrictions on use.
- Victoria & Albert Museum - These images of art from the collections of the V&A are available for academic publishing with some limitations (print runs up to 4,000 copies or 5 years online use). Read the full terms and conditions to see if your use qualifies.
Stock image sites
There are many companies that provide both a high quality image for publication and a license for publication. These sites usually have good selection of images, the images are high quality, and the search features are sophisticated. Licensing fees vary considerably and can be high, though you may be able to negotiate a discount for use in a scholarly publication.
For some of the sites listed below, the price will vary depending on which rights you need for publication: print/electronic, region of the world, number of languages, number of books, where the image will be placed (inside/cover), and size of the image. After entering that information, a license fee will display based on your use. The license fee is not automatically available for some images; for those, you will usually receive an email message after submitting your request. You should consult with your editor when selecting options to be sure you have selected the appropriate options for your book or article.
- Art Resource (license fee based on rights needed)
- Bridgeman Images (license fee based on rights needed)
- Getty Images (license fee based on rights needed)
- iStock (flat fee)
- Shutterstock (flat fee)
Artstor (Georgetown NetID required for off-campus access) is a subscription database that includes some images specifically licensed for academic publishing. These images are identified with “IAP” (Images for Academic Publishing) under the thumbnail image in your search results. Details of the use, including size of print run and credit line, vary among IAP images. You can view these by clicking on the IAP icon under the thumbnail image. The Terms and Conditions agreement displays when you download the image. Most Artstor images, however, are not in the IAP program and are not licensed for use in scholarly publishing. To use a non-IAP image in a book or article, you will usually need to request permission or go through a fee-based stock photo archive, often Art Resource, for a license. Artstor provides contact information for permissions in the "Rights" section of image information page.
You may also find usable images for publication on the sites listed on.
- College Art Association's list of image sources
- Georgetown Library's Copyright and Multimedia: Images page
- Georgetown Library's Images LibGuide
Images that appear on the cover of a book often require specific permission for that use and a higher fee.
The Association of University Presses has this statement on fair use and film frames in their Permissions FAQ :
You may use frame enlargements and publicity stills (both from films and from television shows) when you can justify their inclusion in the work under fair use guidelines—for example, when it can be argued that the illustration serves as a quote from the filmic “text” to illustrate a point. Be conservative in selecting material—if the still or frame illuminates a point you are making or is specifically discussed, then the use may qualify as fair use. Where possible, limit the number of frames reprinted from any one film and from different films that represent the subject of your work. If your use is decorative, you must seek permission from the rightsholder to include it. When purchasing material from a photo agency, read the conditions stated on the agreement and on the back of the photo very carefully (particularly the fine print). In all cases, acknowledge the original copyright holder. For a more in-depth analysis of fair use as related to stills and frame enlargements, the fair use section of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies website offers a number of policy statements and disciplinary guidelines that may be useful.
If your use goes beyond fair use, or if your publisher has a more restrictive policy, you will need to get permission from the copyright owner. Most major film studios have a licensing division where you can submit a request – MGM , Sony , Warner Brothers , Paramount Pictures , Universal , and Walt Disney Studios , for example. For smaller producers, you will need to contact them directly with your request.
Charts, graphs, and figures
There are differences among publishers with respect to what permissions they require for graphs, so a good first step is to consult with your editor on their policies. A few sample policies are:
- Princeton University Press - "Where a chart, graph, or table is being reproduced in a critical study of the work or to buttress an argument of the writer, no permission is needed. Data is not copyrightable. Unless there is a creative element to data depiction that is being reproduced without alteration, fair use can be asserted, with attribution."
- Harvard University Press - "Data is not protected by copyright. However, graphics like tables and charts are copyright protected if the data is organized or presented in a unique way or if the graphic provides interpretation of the data. If you plan to reprint a graphic from another source that is protected by copyright, please clear permission. If you plan to reprint existing tables and charts, adapt existing tables and charts, or create your own tables and charts that will not be subject to copyright protection, please refer to the following guidelines for credit: The standard way to credit tables and charts you are reprinting is: Source: Credit."
- Oxford University Press - "As a guide, you should always seek permission for: . . . Pictures (paintings, drawings, charts, engravings, photographs, cartoons, and so on); Figures and maps; Tables."
There are permissions guidelines that many STM publishers use in setting policies for the reuse of images from their publications. The guidelines include gratis permission for the use of limited numbers of figures/tables/images from journal articles or books, though note that not all members have adopted policies exactly as written in the guidelines.
Many publishers who follow the STM guidelines, or who have similar policies, provide free permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center's Marketplace so those requests are usually quick, easy, and free. The Marketplace system requires information about your publication and exactly what rights you are seeking. For charts, graphs, or figures that fall outside the guidelines, the license fees are often in the $20-$50 range, although that depends on many factors and could be higher or lower.
If you have questions about using images in a scholarly publication, please email [email protected] .
Penn State University Libraries
Copyright and your thesis or dissertation.
- Using Others' Work
- Reusing Your Published Work
- Your Copyright
- Publishing Your Thesis or Dissertation
- Frequently Asked Questions and Resources
Using Third-Party Materials in Your Thesis or Dissertation
In some cases, even reusing your own published articles can raise copyright concerns, if you have transferred your copyright to someone else, like your publisher. For more information, see Reusing Your Published Work .
You can proceed without copyright permission if you are using something that is in the public domain . You also don't need permission if you are using it in a way that is not regulated by one of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights or is permitted by fair use or another user’s right. If none of these circumstances applies, you need a license to use the work. In some cases, an existing license may cover your use. In others, you will need to get a new license from the copyright holder.
In addition to the copyright issues, it is also vital to follow attribution norms within your discipline. For more information about the distinction between plagiarism and copyright infringement, see below.
Contracts at Libraries, Archives, and Museums
Some institutions require you to sign an agreement before accessing their collections. That agreement may limit your ability to use their materials. These agreements can be valid even when the materials are in the public domain or using the materials would qualify as fair use. For instance, if you agree to get permission from the institution before publishing any images of items from its collection, you are bound by that agreement.
To avoid trouble on this issue,
- Ask up front what the terms are and whether you can use the materials in your thesis or dissertation;
- Carefully read the terms of any agreements you sign; and
- Keep a copy of the terms, noting the materials to which they apply.
Fair Use in Theses and Dissertations
Fair use allows certain uses of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder. There are four factors to consider when determining whether your use is a fair one. You must consider all the factors, but not all the factors have to favor fair use for the use to be fair. The outline below explains how the fair use factors and their subfactors apply to using third-party material in a Penn State thesis or dissertation.
First Factor: "The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes"
Uses that fall under one of the favored purposes listed in the fair use statute (17 U.S.C. § 107) or have a nonprofit educational purpose will weigh in favor of fair use. Favored purposes include scholarship, research, criticism, and comment. Since uses in theses and dissertations often have these purposes, this subfactor favors fair use.
Uses that are commercial weigh against fair use. Most uses in theses and dissertations are not for commercial purposes. If you are writing a doctoral dissertation at Penn State, you will be required to license it to ProQuest for distribution. Because ProQuest is a commercial entity, you should consider this when evaluating fair use. Although commerciality weighs against fair use, other subfactors can outweigh that — commercial uses can still be fair.
Uses that are transformative weigh in favor of fair use. A use is transformative when the use adds new meaning or message to the original work, giving it a new purpose. For example, using advertisement images from the 1960s to discuss use of race in advertising is a transformative use, because the advertisements were originally created to sell products. Quoting another scholar's analysis of the advertisement would not necessarily be transformative, though it is still often fair use.
Second Factor: "The nature of the copyrighted work"
If the work used is creative, that will weigh against fair use. If the work used is factual, that will weigh in favor of fair use. The outcome of this subfactor varies depending on the work used.
If the work used is unpublished, that will weigh against fair use. However, the fair use statute explicitly states that the unpublished nature of a work will not bar fair use if the use is otherwise fair. The outcome of this subfactor varies depending on the work used.
Third Factor: "The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole"
Using all or much of the original work will weigh against fair use. The outcome of this subfactor varies depending on the use.
Using the most important part of the original work (the "heart") will weigh against fair use, even if it is only a small amount of the work. The outcome of this subfactor varies depending on the use.
The third factor is neutralized if the amount used is necessary for a transformative purpose, even if the entire original work is used. For instance, the third factor would be neutralized in the use of the advertisement described above if all of the advertisement has to be used in order to achieve the transformative use.
Fourth Factor: "The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work"
Uses that decrease demand for the original work by providing a substitute will weigh against fair use. In many cases, using a work in your thesis or dissertation will not provide a substitute for the original work, but the outcome of this subfactor can vary depending on the use.
Uses that decrease demand for the original work by criticizing it (as with a negative film review) have no impact on the fourth factor.
If the licensing market for the use you are making is "traditional, reasonable, or likely to develop," that will weigh against fair use.
Resources on Fair Use
- Penn State Fair Use Page From the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright, this page explains the four fair use factors and recommends resources on fair use.
- Fair Use for Nonfiction Authors This guide, published by the Authors Alliance, explains when fair use applies to the use of sources in nonfiction works such as scholarly articles. It has been endorsed by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Association for Information Science and Technology.
- Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use These codes document the shared best practices of communities that rely on fair use, including fair use for online video, fair use of images for teaching, research, and study, fair use for OpenCourseWare, fair use for documentary filmmakers, fair use for the visual arts, and fair use for academic and research libraries.
- Summaries of Fair Use Cases This set of case summaries from Stanford is a good resource for learning about fair use law.
- US Copyright Office Fair Use Index This index of fair use cases is searchable by media format, case outcome, jurisdiction, and date. It is helpful for learning about legal precedents and judicial interpretation of the fair use doctrine.
Using Material Under an Existing License
A Creative Commons license makes it easy for you to know how you can use a work. Images licensed under Creative Commons licenses can be particularly useful if you need a generic rather than specific image. Because the rights holder has already given everyone permission to use the image under the terms of the license, you do not need to evaluate fair use or seek permission in order to use it.
When you use a work licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses, you need to comply with the license requirements (unless your use is otherwise permitted, e.g., by fair use). All Creative Commons licenses require attribution. Using the work without giving attribution means you do not meet the legal conditions of the license. However, the licenses are deliberately flexible about the requirements for that attribution. The Best Practices for Attribution are outlined on the Creative Commons wiki. Our page about Creative Commons licenses has more information on this topic.
Searching for Licensed Works
When works are marked with code generated by the Creative Commons License Chooser , that mark is machine readable. A number of search tools allow users to limit their search by license.
- CC Search CC Search enables users to search across multiple platforms for content licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses.
- Google: Find Free-to-Use Images This page explains how to use Google's search engines to find images, text, and videos that are licensed under Creative Commons licenses.
Copyright Infringement vs. Plagiarism
Copyright infringement and plagiarism are related but distinct concepts. Plagiarism is using the work of another without attribution. Copyright infringement is any reproduction, distribution, modification, performance, or display of a copyrighted work without the permission of the rights holder that does not fall under fair use or another user's right.
It is possible to plagiarize even when you have cleared permission for all the copyrighted works. Similarly, it is possible to infringe copyright even when you have given careful attribution. In addition to resolving the copyright issues, you must follow attribution norms within your discipline in order to avoid plagiarizing others' work.
U.S. copyright law does not require citation in a particular form. However, following academic citation norms can help improve your fair use analysis. Check with your advisor for help figuring out what citation style you should use in your thesis or dissertation.
The Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Guide says:
Source citations are required in the text whenever you use a direct quotation, paraphrase another author’s words, or include specific information that is not common knowledge (and is not the result of your own research reported in the thesis/dissertation).
For further information on citation, check out the PSU Libraries’ Citation Guide .
This guide is based in part on Copyright for Dissertations , a guide from the University of Michigan Library Copyright Office, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license .
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Thesis and Dissertation Guide
- « Thesis & Dissertation Resources
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Using copyrighted materials.
- Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials
- Submission Steps
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- Sample Pages
A copyright is an intangible right granted to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, under which they are invested for a limited period with the sole, exclusive privilege of making copies and publishing and selling them.
Copyright protection automatically exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. There is no requirement that the work be published or registered to obtain protection under copyright law. The copyright of any work immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work, unless it is a work-for-hire, or unless ownership has been assigned by written agreement.
Receipt of a submitted and approved thesis or dissertation in The Graduate School results in the publication of the document by the University Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. As such, each student grants the University a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce the student's work, in whole or in part, in electronic form to be posted in the University Library database and made available to the general public at no charge. This does not mean that UNC-Chapel Hill owns the copyright to your work (you do), but the University has the right to reproduce and distribute your work. Public universities often require students to allow reproduction and distribution of academic work to support the dissemination of intellectual thought and discovery. Please review the Copyright Policy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for additional information.
Regardless of whether or not you register copyright for your thesis or dissertation, UNC-Chapel Hill requires that you include a copyright notice following the title page. See Section I of this Guide and the sample copyright page for the format of this notice. Including this page helps to establish that you are the owner of the work. It also protects you, as the copyright holder, from anyone claiming innocent infringement or unintentional violation of copyright.
You may wish to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress. As mentioned above, copyright registration is not a condition to copyright protection. There are, however, advantages to registration, especially if you have a claim of infringement of your copyright. Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright, but there are advantages to filing for registration within three months of publication. For more information on registration, consult the website of the U.S. Copyright Office .
There are two main ways for you to file for copyright of your thesis or dissertation:
- You may empower ProQuest to file the application on your behalf. When you submit your thesis or dissertation, ProQuest charges a fee for this service ($55, subject to change). The service includes preparing an application in your name, submitting your application fee, depositing the required copy or copies of the manuscript, and mailing you the completed certificate of registration from the Library of Congress.
- Alternately, you may file for copyright directly. Visit the following U.S. Copyright website for more information about registering your work . There is a copyright fee for filing copyright directly with the U.S. Copyright Office ($35, subject to change).
Any copyrighted materials used in your work, beyond brief excerpts, may be used only with the written permission of the copyright owner. Book and journal publishers normally hold the copyright for all materials they publish. Therefore, even if you are the sole or one of several authors of material in a published book or journal, you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder if you are including this material in your document. Remember that use of reproductions or excerpts of other media, such as music, graphic images, or computer software may also require permissions.
Your letter to the copyright holder needs to make clear that you seek written permission to preserve (on microfilm and digitally) and publish (in print and digital form) your thesis or dissertation through ProQuest and that ProQuest may sell, on demand, for scholarly purposes, single copies of your work, which includes the copyright holder's material. Your letter must also seek written permission for the document to be submitted in electronic format to UNC-Chapel Hill where it will be placed in a database and made available through the University Library to the general public at no charge via the Internet.
You are responsible for securing all necessary permissions and paying any permission fees in advance of using copyrighted materials in your work.
Use of Your Own Previously Published Material
Some academic programs permit you to include articles or other materials that you have previously published, that have been accepted (or submitted, in press, or under review) for publication, or that have been otherwise presented to the public within the body of your thesis or dissertation. In all such instances the following guidelines apply:
- If the material is co-authored, your academic program must approve its inclusion in your thesis or dissertation.
- If the material is copyrighted (if you are the sole author but the copyright is held by the publisher), you must fulfill the conditions specified in the section above on using copyrighted materials .
- The material, if included in the body of your text, must conform to all formatting guidelines outlined in this Guide. See the Formatting Previously Published Work section for details.
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In the United States, you automatically own the copyright in your original creative authorship, such as your dissertation, once it is fixed in a tangible form ( i.e. , written down or recorded). United States law does not require you to include a copyright notice on your dissertation or to formally register with the U.S. Copyright Office in order to secure copyright protection over your work. However, there are some benefits to including a copyright notice and registering your work. See the Copyright Guide for more information or to schedule a consultation .
Including a copyright page in your dissertation is optional but recommended. For details on how to format the copyright page, consult the PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide and the PhD Dissertation Formatting Checklist .
University of Pennsylvania policy allows you to include your own previously published work or articles submitted for publication as part of the dissertation with the following conditions:
- You must obtain approval of the dissertation committee and Graduate Group Chairperson.
- You must obtain written permission from the copyright owner, which may be the journal, publisher, and/or any co-authors, unless you are the sole copyright holder (depends on your publishing agreement).
- You must upload any permission letters in ETD Administrator as an Administrative Document titled “Permission Letter – Do Not Publish.”
- For dissertations based on joint work with other researchers, a unique and separate dissertation must be presented by each degree candidate. You must include a concise account of your unique contribution to the joint work, and remainder of the dissertation must be authored solely by you. Authorship of an entire dissertation by more than one degree candidate is not allowed.
- Your dissertation must be formatted as a single document with consistent formatting and styles throughout. If you are using multiple previously published articles, make sure to make the formatting consistent with the rest of the document.
When using previously published or in press work, you must disclose this information in your dissertation in the following format :
- Under the Chapter title, list the full citation for the previously published/in-press article in the citation style used in your Bibliography.
- If it is a jointly authored article, describe your contribution to the work in a separate sentence.
If you use third party copyrighted material (images, quotations, datasets, figures), you are responsible for re-use of that material (see the Policy on Unauthorized Copying of Copyrighted Media ). In many cases, you may be able to use copyrighted material under the “ fair use ” provision of U.S. copyright law. Consult the PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide and the PhD Dissertation Formatting Checklist for information on how to submit written permission from a copyright holder. Typically, you will need to request a permission letter and upload the letter as an Administrative Document in ETD Administrator .
If you still have questions regarding copyright and “fair use" refer to the Penn Libraries Copyright Guide or email [email protected] for further support.
Any inventions that you make as part of your research for your degree and disclosed as part of your dissertation, and any patent or other intellectual property rights arising therefrom, are governed by the policies of the University of Pennsylvania, including the Patent and Tangible Research Property Policies and Procedures and Policy Relating to Copyrights and Commitment of Effort for Faculty. For more information, please contact the Penn Center for Innovation .
There are strict deadlines under U.S. and international law regarding the timing for filing patent applications and the public availability of your dissertation. Contact the Penn Center for Innovation to discuss whether there might be a patentable invention disclosed in your dissertation prior to deposit of your dissertation.
Do I have copyright over my dissertation?
Yes. According to US Copyright law, you have copyright immediately and automatically over any of your new, original works in a “fixed, tangible form” ( i.e. , written down, recorded, etc.). You do not need to register or to include a copyright symbol © or any other formal marks to secure your copyright, though there are some benefits to doing so. See the Copyright Guide for more information or email [email protected] for further support.
Should I register the copyright in my dissertation with the U.S. Copyright Office?
It depends on what you want to do with your dissertation. There are some benefits to registering the copyright in your dissertation depending on your future goals. However, keep in mind that you automatically have copyright over your dissertation without formally registering. To learn more about formally registering the copyright in your dissertation, see the Copyright Guide or schedule a consultation .
Should I pay ProQuest to register my copyright?
Note that you already have copyright over your dissertation, but if you would like to formally register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office , you can pay ProQuest to do it for you (you will have the option in ETD Administrator). For less cost, you can register it yourself on the copyright.gov web page. Information on registering your copyright is available in the Copyright Guide . Please keep in mind that if portions of your dissertation are comprised of previously published co-authored material, you cannot register your copyright through ProQuest.
What is a Creative Commons license?
A copyright license grants permission for someone else to use your copyrighted work. A Creative Commons license is one type of copyright license. It works hand in hand with your copyright. It is not an independent type of copyright. By using a Creative Commons license you are telling the world under what circumstances they are able to use your work without asking your permission each and every time. You can only add a Creative Commons license to your work if you are the copyright holder, and have not transferred your rights to someone else (like a publisher).
You may choose to apply a Creative Commons license to your dissertation by adding it to the copyright notice page; see the PhD Dissertation Formatting Guide for an example . V isit the Creative Commons website to review all the licenses in full detail and select one that fits your needs.
Refer to the Services for Authors Guide or schedule a consultation to learn more about using a Creative Commons license on your dissertation .
I want to use copyrighted materials in my dissertation. Is that okay?
It depends. If the materials you wish to incorporate into your dissertation are copyrighted, you will need to do a fair use analysis for each item you use to determine if you can proceed without getting permission. If you do not feel that you can make a good "fair use" case, you will need to request permission from the copyright holder and provide all permission letters as Administrative Documents in ETD Administrator. Just because you are using the work for educational purposes does not automatically mean that your work is "fair use" or that you have permission to use the work. Request a consultation to learn more about fair use and other copyright considerations.
I want to use my own previously published materials in my dissertation. Is that okay?
It depends. If t he materials you may wish to incorporate into your dissertation are published in a journal or other publication, you may need to seek permission from the journal, publisher, or any co-authors. These permission letters must be uploaded as supplementary material in ETD Administrator before the deposit date. Please refer to your publication agreement for further information.
Additionally, using previously published materials as part of your dissertation requires approval of the dissertation committee and Graduate Group Chairperson.
I would like to know more about publishing, copyright, open access, and other/related issues. How can I find out more?
The Penn Libraries offers a range of workshops and presentations on these topics (and other digital skills related topics) throughout the year . Groups can request a number of these workshops for classes or other group settings. For personal discussions about copyright, fair use, Creative Commons, scholarly publishing, and other related topics, please contact your subject librarian for support and further referrals. For more general information about these and related topics, review the Penn Libraries' guides by keyword or subject.
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Copyright & Web Images
Images on the open web are subject to copyright law in the same manner as any other creative work; there is no guarantee that an image is legally available for re-use just because it is freely accessible on the web.
That said, there are many cases in which copyright law permits re-use:
1. The image is a public domain work. Generally, anything published in the U.S. 95 or more years ago is in the public domain. For more info, check out the Peter Hirtle's Copyright Term and the Public Domain .
2. The image is available under a Creative Commons license. CC images are labeled as such. When using a CC image, be sure to provide proper attribution to the source.
3. The image is otherwise made available for re-use by the content provider. Some websites permit you to re-use their images on your own website, as long as certain conditions are met (e.g. noncommercial use only). In these cases, you can find out whether re-use is permitted by looking at the website’s Terms & Conditions.
4. The image is copyrighted, but re-use qualifies as Fair Use. In the context of using images on a website, you have a stronger Fair Use argument if you are directly commenting on or critiquing the image, or if you are using the image in a way that is transformative.
- Fair Use likely does not apply when images are being used solely to make a web page more visually interesting; the use of the image should serve some instructional or educational purpose.
- Keep in mind that if an image is subject to a license agreement (such as images from library databases), it can only be used according to what the license allows , even if Fair Use would otherwise allow for re-use. See the Using Database Images section of this page.
- For more information, see Applying Fair Use .
5. You have permission from the copyright owner. For more information, see Getting Permission .
Crediting Images: Best Practices
It can be tricky to determine the creator of a web image. To make giving credit easy, look for images that give you enough information to attribute them.
At minimum, do your best to:
- Link to back to the original work.
- Give credit to the image creator.
- Follow attribution instructions provided by the source.
Generic Image Credit Format:
Title by Creator Name , via Source ( License Type ).
Finding Images You Can Legally Use
Here are several excellent sources for images in the public domain and creative commons-licensed content:
- Creative Commons Search - Allows you to search for CC-licensed material by media type
- College Art Association Image Sources - Links to free, restricted and unrestricted, image banks.
- Flickr Advanced Search - Choose “Only search within Creative Commons-Licensed Content.”
- Google Advanced Image Search - Use the “Usage Rights” field to limit by license type.
- Library of Congress: American Memory - A free “digital record of American history and creativity.” Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog - Photographs, prints, drawings, posters, and architectural drawings, and more.
- NGA Images - Public domain artworks from the collections of the National Gallery of Art.
- Noun Project - Free clip art images requiring creator credit.
- NYPL Digital Gallery - Illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, and more, from the New York Public Library.
- US Government Photos & Images - Public domain images by topic.
- Wellcome Images - All images are made available under Creative Commons licenses.
- Wikimedia Commons - Browse or search for freely reusable images.
- Wikipedia Public Domain Images - List of public domain image sources on the web.
Using Database Images
The Library provides NYU faculty and students with access to a number of great image repositories, including the images available in Artstor and Artnet . These images are high resolution and free for use by anyone with a Net ID and access to Library electronic materials.
However, use of these database images are subject to license terms and conditions that limit how you may reuse the material. While you are free to view images on the database and even download them for your own study in many cases, you are not permitted to post database images to public websites , including your own personal websites or study sites, such as Study Blue. Doing so is a violation of the user terms of the database.
If you wish to use any images you find in your own scholarship, such as a thesis, dissertation, or article, you will need to contact the database owner for permission to republish the images. You can find out more in the section on Getting Permission .
Image Credit Generator
Wikimedia Deutschland has a useful image credit generator for images from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.
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Images: Finding and Using
- Image Resources at Brown
- Image Resources at RISD
- Finding Web Images
Can I Use These Images for...?
Some things to consider, twentieth & twenty-first century artists, some copyright resources, the public domain.
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Copyright is unfortunately a complicated subject. Please don't hesitate to contact me for individual help. I can help with determining copyright status of images in Brown's licensed databases or other sources. I can also help you in locating images and image sources or rights owners for use in academic publications.
Unknown Chinese. Fairy Feeding Lingzhi Fungus to a Dragon . Earthenware from X 'ian tomb. Western Han, 1st century BCE. Cleveland Museum of Art via Creative Commons license.
A classroom presentation or paper illustration?
In general, images used in a classroom presentation, for a scholarly lecture, on a password-protected class website, or in an unpublished assigned paper, fall under the concept of Fair Use. Fair use is an exception to the exclusive rights granted by copyright. For further information, consult the this document from the United States Copyright Office:
- Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians
A lecture to a paying audience?
If your audience is paying to see you, in general you should obtain permission before using an image, unless the image is in the Public Domain.
A published scholarly article, book, dissertation or website?
You are responsible in these cases for obtaining permission, unless the work is in the Public Domain. In most cases, your publisher will require that you do so. However, the Visual Resources Association argues that images used in dissertations and theses should be considered fair use.
A new work of art based on another person's art?
The creator of a copyrighted work of art is given the exclusive right to prepare derivative works based on that work. On the other hand, there is a long tradition of artists responding to others' works. Whether you are basing your work on the original work of art, or a digital or print copy of it, in order to claim fair use, you should be ready to explain your rationale, be sure that your work is creating new artistic meaning, and give credit in some way to the creator of the original work.
Images in Browns' and RISD's licensed databases may be used for educational purposes only: teaching, lectures at scholarly institutions, class papers and presentations, educational websites restricted to Brown users. Images may not be used for publication unless copyright has been cleared or public domain status has been verified.
The rights of images found in web resources will vary. You must be more stringent for publication, whether in print or on the web, than for class papers and presentations that will be seen only within a circumscribed educational setting. Works employed in a classroom setting generally fall under fair use.
For publication , try to determine where the image came from. Does the work belong to a museum? Check the museum's own website for rights information. Almost every museum website will have a page labeled with a variation on Licensing, Publications, Rights, etc. More and more now, museums are allowing free use of works they consider to be in the public domain (especially American museums), but you must check with the museum to be sure this is allowed. For architecture, public art, etc, try to determine who the photographer is and contact him or her for permission. Karen can also help you with determining this. Additional resources for determining copyright and/or public domain status can be found in the boxes below.
*Be sure to keep records of all your attempts to contact copyright owners. Documenting your good faith efforts can be helpful if your use of an image is later challenged.
Twentieth and twenty-first century artists and/or their heirs will almost invariably still own the rights to their works. You must obtain permission before publishing anything by them. These resources can help. Check artists' names on the websites below. If an artist is not listed on either site, try searching online for his or her gallery or other representation.
- ARS & VAGA Artists Rights Society, the main copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States has joined with the Visual Artists and Galleries Association, representing artists worldwide. Contact for help with obtaining rights to use the works of many contemporary artists.
- Compendium of U. S. Copyright Office Practices: Visual Art Works Covers just about every type of image and where it falls under copyright law.
- Copyright for Dissertations Created by the University of Michigan Library, this document answers many general questions about obtaining permissions for and giving credit in dissertations and theses
- Visual Resources Association: Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research and Study Recommendation from the Visual Resources Association for the fair use of images in academia, including use in dissertations. Written in 2012.
- College Art Association's Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts Published in 2014. Covers the main areas of writing, teaching, creating, archiving and museum use. The landing page also includes a helpful FAQ.
- What I Wish They Taught Me About Copyright in Art School Blog post from the United States Copyright Office about the benefits of registering your art works.
- Fair Use Checklist This list will help you to determine if your employment of an image falls under fair use. From the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office.
- Asking for Permission Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office. Asking for Permission. Columbia's site offers practical advice on how to contact the copyright owner, how to write an effective letter (email) and how to document your efforts. It also includes model letters for use of video or text, and for use of copyrighted materials in a course management system.
- If You Cannot Find the Copyright Owner This guide from Western Oregon University discusses your options if you are unable to track down a copyright owner.
- Creative Commons Images Look for images online that grant a Creative Commons license (CC). "The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.." The permissions will vary by creator but one can often find images that allow free use with proper attribution.
- A Creative Commons Primer for Graduate Students Blog entry by Heather VanMouwerik that does a good job of explaining Creative Commons and how images using this license can be utilized by grad students.
- Fair Usage Publication of Film Stills Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Society for Film Studies. Advice on publication of film stills in scholarly works.
- Wikimedia Commons Guidelines for Derivative Works Although written specifically for users of Wikimedia, these very useful guidelines follow principals agreed upon by most editors.
- Art and Architecture Resources on the Web: Copyright Web resources collected by Librarian Karen Bouchard.
How do I know what's in the public domain? Determining if a work is in the public domain, and therefore, free to be used in any way you wish, is confusing, to say the least. There are a number of online resources that help in determining the status of a work. Contact your librarian Karen Bouchard or take a look at this guide to copyright resources on the web:
The basics of when a work enters the public domain in the United States:
- Created before 1928: Now in the public domain.This updates every January. In 2024, 1928 will move into the public domain.
- 1928-1963: Copyright could be renewed every 28 years. If copyright was not renewed, the work is now in the public domain.
- 1964-1977: Copyright lasts 95 years.
- 1928-1977: If there was no copyright notice, the work is now in the public domain.
- 1978 - present: Copyright lasts for life of the creator plus 70 years. Copyright notice is no longer required in order to claim copyright.
If an artist is long dead, is his work in the public domain? The work of art itself may be in the public domain, but the question of who owns the copyright to the reproduction is still unsettled. In the case of Bridgeman Art Library vs Corel Corp, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York determined that an exact photographic copy of a two-dimensional work of art could not be considered to be protected by copyright. This decision has stood for over twenty years now. What this means is that American museums should not charge a copyright fee for reproductions of public domain works.
It also means that many American museums have recently begun allowing free use of pre-1928 materials from their collection in the belief that such works are in the public domain. If you are publishing in the United States, you will have a case for fair use of public domain materials. Outside the U.S., you will need to follow the copyright rules of that country.
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Copyright & Your Scholarship
- Using Copyrighted Sources
- Your Rights as an Author
- Sharing & Preserving Your Work
- Copyrighted Materials in Your Thesis or Dissertation
- Access Options When Submitting
Using Quotations and Text
In general, you are fine to quote from copyrighted texts with proper attribution. Keep in mind that you should use only the amount of text necessary to support your argument or conduct your own analysis; this is good scholarship and best practice in adhering to copyright law. If you are conducting research in an archive or have access to unpublished texts, a good resource is the Society of American Archivists "Copyright and Unpublished Material" guide.
Using Images and Video
Using images & video.
As you incorporate images or video clips into your work, ask the following questions to decide whether or not you need to get permission:
Is the work in copyright? If you're using a video or recent image created within the past 40 years, it is very likely protected by copyright. If you're using older material, it may or may not be protected. This chart is a great starting point when deciding whether or not the image is copyrighted.
If it is protected, can you make the case for fair use? Fair use is a part of U.S. Copyright Law that supports limited uses of copyrighted materials for education and scholarship. In the context of theses and dissertations, you may be able to rely on fair use rather than obtaining specific permission from the copyright holder. As one way to assess this, ask yourself whether or not the image or video is necessary to your argument? For instance, are you analyzing the work in your writing or does it directly support a particular point you are trying to make? If yes, your use is more likely to be fair . If the image or video is mainly there to make your work more visually appealing, but without really adding anything crucial to your argument, that use is less likely to be fair .
Can you use an image that is in the public domain or royalty free? If you don't think your use of a specific image falls within fair use, consider using a free-to-use alternative. Most images created before the 20th century and many images created after that are in the public domain, meaning their copyright protections have expired or they were never protected in the first place. Many websites also post images labeled as "royalty free" or "openly licensed." For links to websites containing images and audio or video files that may be in the public domain or openly licensed, please visit our research guide: Finding and Using Public Domain and Openly Licensed Media .
Do you need permission? If you want to use a specific image or video, have determined your use isn't fair, and can't find a suitable alternative, you may be able to seek permission from the copyright holder or pay a licensing fee. If you know the name of the photographer, you may be able to find their contact information online. On YouTube, you can typically send a message by going to a user's "about" page (though keep in mind that many people upload videos without owning the copyright). Note that most archives and special collections do not own copyright to many of the materials that they own; staff at such institutions may be able to give you information about the creator but often cannot give you permission to use the item.
Using Data, Charts, and Graphs
Using data, charts, & graphs.
Similarly, you may typically republish a chart or graph that conveys factual information in a straightforward, uncreative way (e.g. a simple bar graph, pie chart, etc.). If the chart or graph involves more creative design or infographic elements, annotation, etc., you will need to consider fair use, get permission from the publisher or author, or create your own illustration based on the underlying facts.
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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2022).
- Filing Fees and Student Status
- Submission Process Overview
- Electronic Thesis Submission
- Paper Thesis Submission
- Formatting Overview
- Pagination, Margins, Spacing
- Paper Thesis Formatting
- Preliminary Pages Overview
- Dedication Page
- Table of Contents
- List of Figures (etc.)
- Text and References Overview
- Figures and Illustrations
- Using Your Own Previously Published Materials
- Using Copyrighted Materials by Another Author
- Open Access and Embargoes
- Copyright and Creative Commons
- Ordering Print (Bound) Copies
- Tutorials and Assistance
- FAQ This link opens in a new window
The use of copyright notice is the prerogative of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the U.S. Copyright Office. The use of such notice is highly recommended , because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication.
- You should include a copyright statement for yourself for this manuscript.
- You must list copyright holders if any portion of your manuscript has been previously published (by you or by another author). See https://guides.lib.uci.edu/gradmanual/previously-published-overview
- If a copyright statement is not being included, insert a blank page as a substitute. The UCI Libraries strongly recommends that you include a copyright statement.
- Please read the Copyrighted Materials sections (found in the tabs on the left-hand side of this page) for more information.
The notice must contain the following three elements:
- The symbol © (the letter in a circle), or the word "Copyright"
- The year of publication (i.e., the year in which you are filing your manuscript)
- The name of the copyright owner (i.e., your name as it appears on the title page)
Example: © 2015 John Doe
Copyright Page Example
Here is an example Copyright Page if the thesis/dissertation author is the only copyright holder listed.
If you need to list other copyright holders for other material included in your manuscript, those should be listed above your copyright for your graduate manuscript. Here is an example of a copyright page section with multiple copyrights listed:
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- University of Michigan Library
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Copyright for Dissertations
- Copyright in Your Dissertation
- Using Others' Content
- Publishing Your Dissertation
The University of Michigan Library Copyright Office provides help with copyright questions for University of Michigan faculty, staff and students. Please email us with questions or visit our website for more information.
The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to the University of Michigan, please contact the Office of the General Counsel .
If you require legal advice in your personal capacity, the lawyer referral services operated by the Washtenaw County Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan may be helpful to you.
In the United States today, copyright protection automatically covers all new copyrightable works, including your dissertation. The moment a copyrightable work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression (e.g., written on a piece of paper or on your hard drive), it is subject to copyright.
In the past, authors had to comply with certain formalities in order to obtain copyright protection. These formalities included registering the work with the US Copyright Office and placing a copyright notice on the work. Copyright law no longer requires that authors comply with these formalities merely to obtain copyright protection. However, registering a work and putting a copyright notice on a work still come with legal benefits, so authors often do these things anyway.
Under current US law, you do not have to provide a copyright notice on your work to receive copyright protection. However, if you are making your work publicly available, you may want to.
Putting a copyright notice (the copyright symbol (©), the year of publication, and the name of the copyright holder) on a work tells the rest of the world that the work is protected by copyright. If the copyright holder later sues someone for infringing her copyright in the work, she can point to the notice to show that the defendant is not an “innocent infringer," which can lead to higher damages. A copyright notice also lets others know whom to contact if they would like a license to use the work.
- Copyright Basics: US Copyright Office Circular 1 This PDF publication from the US Copyright Office explains the basics of copyright law, including copyright notice.
Under current US law, you do not have to register your work to receive copyright protection. You may want to register it anyway, because copyright registration comes with certain legal benefits. If the work is registered within three months of its publication date or before a particular infringement occurs, the copyright holder can recover statutory damages (monetary awards that need not be connected to actual harm suffered by the copyright holder) and attorney’s fees if she is successful in an infringement suit. Also, registration is required before the author can bring a lawsuit about the use of her work. However, despite these benefits, many works are never registered because registration takes time and money.
Registering a copyright is not difficult. For instructions and forms, visit the US Copyright Office website . If you have any questions regarding copyright registration, the US Copyright Office has a toll-free help line at 1-877-476-0778. You may register a work at any time while it is still in copyright.
Registration costs can vary depending on the type of work and whether or not you are the sole author. The U.S. Copyright Office's Circular 4 has the most up to date information about registration fees.
Registration by ProQuest
If you submit your dissertation to ProQuest , they will register the copyright on your behalf, for a fee. The Rackham Graduate School encourages Ph.D. candidates to discuss this option with their advisors before selecting it.
Who Holds Copyright
Under US law, the initial copyright holder is the author of the work. In most cases, copyright law treats the creator(s) of the work as the author(s). Copyright is automatic; it applies to the work as soon as it is fixed (or recorded) in some way.
If multiple people created the work, only those who have contributed copyrightable elements are considered authors for the purpose of copyright law. Coming up with the idea for the work alone is not enough to be an author. See Joint Works for more if you’d like to learn more about how having multiple authors affects how we think about copyright of the work.
If someone creates a work as an employee (or in certain cases, as a contractor), that person’s employer is considered the author of the work. See Works Made for Hire for more information on when a work is considered a work made for hire.
Who Holds Copyright in University of Michigan Dissertations
A University of Michigan dissertation author is the initial copyright holder for her dissertation. As the copyright holder, she has certain rights under copyright law. In the United States today, those rights can be separated and split. The author can give others permission to exercise some or all of those rights. That is called a license. If the author agrees only to give that permission to one entity at a time, the license is exclusive.
An exclusive license that lasts until the end of the copyright term is a transfer of copyright. To be valid, a copyright transfer must be in writing and must be signed by the copyright holder or the copyright holder’s agent. The recipient of a copyright transfer can then license or transfer the copyright.
In the academic context, licenses and transfers of copyright are particularly common in publishing agreements. In many cases, the author transfers all or part of the copyright in her publication to the publisher. Academic authors also use the Creative Commons licenses to increase access to their work, either in advance or as part of a publishing agreement.
Rights of Copyright Holders and Users
The author is granted rights in the work , including the right to reproduce the work, to make derivative works, and to distribute the work to the public. The author can transfer those rights to someone else and can give others permission to exercise them by means of a license . Users can also use the work without permission if their use falls within one of the user’s rights .
Copyright and Fair Use: Theses and Dissertations
- Public Domain
- Theses and Dissertations
- Creative Commons
- Copyright Claims Board
Copyright for Theses and Dissertations
For many graduate students, the thesis or dissertation is one of their first publications. Having an understanding of basic copyright issues before beginning your thesis or dissertation can help you avoid additional work in the future.
A checklist for authors and some Frequently Asked Questions can be found below.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Fondren Library Publishing Services using this webform or email [email protected] .
Copyright Checklist for Theses and Dissertations
Below, is a checklist of activities to conduct before and during the writing of your thesis or dissertation. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Fondren Library Publishing Services using this webform or email [email protected] .
- Educopia created a useful guide about copyright issues specifically related to theses and dissertations.
- Read Rice’s Copyright Policy , which includes information specific to graduate students.
- Be sure to acknowledge that the work was published in an earlier form and provide citation information.
- Are any materials in the public domain ? Works in the public domain have no copyright restrictions on use (it is, however, best practice to provide attribution/citation).
- Does fair use apply to any of your uses? Fondren’s Fair Use Checklist can help you evaluate your uses.
- Do you have permission from a copyright owner to use material? Columbia University Libraries developed a useful resource for seeking permission.
- Are you including any materials created by you, but previously published? Check your publishing agreements to ensure that you have permission to use your work in your thesis or dissertation.
Derived from ProQuest and Kenneth D. Crews’ “ Copyright Information for Dissertation Authors ” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License .
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, are questions related to copyright and theses/dissertations that Fondren Library staff frequently receive. They are updated as additional questions are received and as policies/guidelines change. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies also maintains a Candidacy and Defense FAQ .
Q: Who owns the copyright in my thesis or dissertation?
You do! You are the owner of the copyright in your work from the moment it is fixed in a tangible form, including computer memory. You continue to own that copyright until you transfer it to another party. A transfer of copyright must be in writing. [from The Graduate School, Duke University ]
Q: Why are Rice theses and dissertations made available online? Will this hurt my chances for future publication?
For many years, universities have required that dissertations be shared publicly, since the ultimate objective of doctoral training is to produce scholars who can make public contributions to knowledge. In the pre-Web era, dissertations were typically held by the PhD student’s home library as well as microfilmed and made available through UMI. In the Web era, most universities have moved to online systems, which are easier to manage, involve less hassle (you don’t have to worry about binding your dissertation), and allow students to have a deeper impact on knowledge. While the first book in the humanities is typically based on the author’s dissertation, it involves substantial revision, so many publishers regard it as being an entirely different object. Some students have found that having their dissertations available online raises their scholarly profile and even helps them to find a publisher. For more information, see Cirasella, J., & Thistlethwaite, P. (2017). Open access and the graduate author: A dissertation anxiety manual . In K. L. Smith & K. A.Dickson (Eds.), Open access and the future of scholarly communication: Implementation(pp. 203-224). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Q: Why is my dissertation available in the public domain?
This is a common misconception. You retain copyright over your thesis or dissertation. It is publicly available but not in the public domain .
Q: How do I copyright my thesis?
Copyright protection automatically exists from the time the work is created in fixed form. There is no requirement that the work be published or registered to obtain protection under copyright law.
However, you may wish to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress. Copyright registration is not a condition to copyright protection but may be useful if you have a claim of infringement of your copyright. Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright, but there are advantages to filing for registration within three months of publication. For more information on registration, see the U.S. Copyright Office . [from The Graduate School, UNC ]
Q: Can I use copyrighted images or graphs in my dissertation?
A number of factors should be considered when determining if copyrighted material like images and graphs can be used in your work. Please see this guide’s Copyright Checklist or contact [email protected] . For additional information about using images in publications, please see the library’s guide to Finding and Using Images in Publications .
Q: What if I want to patent the research in my thesis?
You may need to request that publication of your work be delayed until after patent review. If you require a delay on the publishing of your thesis, you may make this request directly through thesis.rice.edu when submitting your documents.
Q: Who should I contact with questions about depositing theses and dissertations?
Contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: [email protected]
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Images: Finding and Using Images for Research and Instruction: Copyright and Citing Images
- Image Collections by Subject
- Copyright and Citing Images
Digital Dissertations and Theses
Digital dissertations and theses, as well as ePorftolios, can have special copyright concerns, because they are often freely accessible on the internet. Carefully review the requirements of the BGSU Graduate College and the OhioLINK ETD, as well as the copyright restrictions on any images before digitally publishing your dissertation.
- Digital Dissertation Dust-Up Monaghan, Peter. Chronicle of Higher Education, April 28, 2006
- Sample Letter for Asking Permission to Use Copyrighted Works From CopyrightLaws.com
- BGSU Grad College information on Electronic Theses and Dissertations "The Graduate Council approved the implementation of electronic submission of theses and dissertations beginning with Fall 2005 for all graduate programs."
What is Copyright?
United States copyright law is contained within Title 17 of the United States Code. Copyright protection applies to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression" (recorded, saved to a hard drive, written down, etc.). The law specifies eight protected categories:
- literary works ;
- musical works , including any accompanying words;
- dramatic works , including any accompanying music;
- pantomimes and choreographic works ;
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works ;
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works ;
- sound recordings ; and
- architectural works .
The law also grants exclusive rights to copyright holders ( Section 106 ). You've likely heard these referred to as a bundle of rights. They include the rights to:
- reproduce the work;
- prepare derivative works ;
- distribute copies of the work;
- perform the copyrighted work publicly;
- display the copyrighted work publicly; and
- perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission .
- Copyright Basics Written by the United States Copyright Office, Copyright Basics provides background information on copyright law, the scope and duration of its protections, and registration procedures for authors.
While copyright holders have exclusive rights to determine how their works are reproduced, distributed, displayed, and performed, there are exceptions to those rights in the law. One major exception is the doctrine of fair use ( Section 107 ).
Individuals who'd like to use a copyrighted work for "purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research" can use the following four factors to determine if their proposed use favors fair use or warrants permission from the copyright holder:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
- Can I Use This? University of Minnesota Libraries' Can I Use This? provides a practical overview of copyright basics, using copyrighted materials in your research and teaching, and Creative Commons licenses.
- Fair Use Checklist Columbia University Libraries' Fair Use Checklist lists common circumstances--both those that favor and oppose fair use--for each of the four factors to help you make your fair use determination.
- Fair Use Myths & Facts Released as part of Fair Use Week , the Association of Research Libraries' Fair Use Myths & Facts is an infographic that debunks 10 common misconceptions about fair use.
- Asking for Permission Columbia University Libraries' Asking for Permission provides step-by-step instructions and model permission letters for individuals who feel their use of a work doesn't fall under one of the law's exceptions and requires permission from the copyright holder.
As with any work of intellectual property, you should identify your sources for images. Consult your preferred citation style manual ( APA , MLA , etc.) for examples and as a guide for your citation.
- Citing Audiovisual Media in APA Style, 7th ed. From Purdue OWL
- Citing Art & Media in MLA Style, 8th ed. From Purdue OWL. Scroll down to "A Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph.
- APA Style, 7th ed. by Laura Sheets Last Updated Jul 5, 2023 4012 views this year
- MLA Style, 9th Edition by Rachael Acheson Last Updated Oct 1, 2023 1667 views this year
- A Beginner's Guide to Using Copyrighted Images Here’s how to navigate the world of image copyright so you can benefit from the wealth of creativity online while avoiding any legal and financial repercussions.
- Copyright in Higher Education Elements Resources The goal of CHEER is to create a collaborative online exchange for engaging resources that can be utilized to increase awareness and education on these issues at any institution.
- Digital Image Rights Computator The Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment. Understanding the presence or absence of rights in the various aspects of a given image will allow the user to make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image.
Books on Artists Rights
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- Subject Guides
Copyright: a Practical Guide
- Using images
- Copyright law explained
- For Students (Undergraduates and PGTs)
- For Researchers (staff and PGRs)
- For Teachers
- Course reading
- Gaining permission
- Protecting and licensing your work
Copyright in images
Whether you are blogging, creating a presentation, writing for publication or designing a poster, you are likely to want to illustrate your material with other people's images.
Bear in mind that free-to-view images are not necessarily free to re-use . Even uncredited photos on transient websites may be protected by copyright.
UK copyright law permits you to ' quote ' other people's images, provided that they are relevant to your discussion or critique (i.e. not just used for decorative purposes), and that you have used no more than is required for your specific purpose.
You also need to abide by 'fair dealing' : your use of the image must have no impact on the market for the original (you should use a lower resolution or cropped version) and you must fully acknowledge the rights-holder (your image caption or credits should reiterate any copyright statement or licence terms indicated at the source).
Using images for educational purposes
Third-party copyright images which are integral to your work as a teacher or student may be legally defensible as " Illustration for Instruction ".
Typical educational scenarios in which you may not need the rights-holder's permission to utilize their image:
- projecting a reproduction of an artwork for discussion in a lecture
- utilizing a figure from a textbook in a course handout
- taking a screenshot from social media for an assignment
- sharing an image file with classmates for a group project.
The captions for any images you reproduce should provide information about the image and its source in accordance with your department's preferred referencing style . You should also identify the rights-holder (e.g. " Copyright © University of York" ), reiterate any copyright statements or licensing terms indicated at the source (e.g. " All rights reserved" , or " This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License " ) and state whether you have obtained any necessary permissions to use the image.
Ensure that your material is not shared outside the classroom (physical or virtual), or with anyone other than the markers in the case of assessed work. Or look for images which are licensed for re-use in an educational context (see opposite).
Be aware that even your own photos of artworks and panoramas may not be risk-free: although an artist's copyright may have expired (usually 70 years after their death), the gallery may have a 'no photographs' policy which doesn't exempt educational use. Or the country where you took the photo may impose legal restrictions on the reproduction of copyright material sited in public (including France, Italy and Greece ).
Corporate logos can be particularly problematic, as they are likely to be trademarked as well as protected by copyright. Ensure that any logo which you reproduce for the purpose of 'instruction' doesn't leave the (physical or virtual) classroom. Or contact the company for permission to use their logo in your educational material.
Our Creative Commons for Researchers Practical Guide covers the range of Creative Commons legal tools available and the benefits and considerations for both creators and users of licensed works.
Recommended sources of images
The creator of an image may release it with a Creative Commons licence , which provides a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their work.
Many image libraries allow you to filter search results by licence status: for instance CC0 (in the public domain, no attribution required), CC BY (free to re-use with attribution and indication if changes were made) or CC BY-NC (free to re-use in a non-commercial context, with attribution and indication if changes were made). The CC Search tool enables you to search multiple libraries simultaneously.
University of York liaison librarian Ned Potter has blogged about the best sources of CC0 images for academic work, including presentations, posters and websites (2018).
A source to treat with caution:
Getty Images : Embed our images
Wikimedia Commons brings together a very comprehensive list of answers to the question " Do copyright laws allow the upload of pictures of...? ", in the UK and other countries.
The UK's Intellectual Property Office has published a Copyright Notice (2014, pdf) for a general audience, providing advice about reproducing digital images and photographs , and protecting your own images.
UK-based art dealer Follio.com has published a straightforward infographic (2016) illustrating How to Avoid Copyright Infringement when manipulating images. Note the differences between US and UK law which are outlined in the guide.
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Pumerantz Library Research Guides
Research assistance, subject guides, & useful resources, theses and dissertations: reusing copyrighted material.
- Writing Your Thesis or Dissertation
- Reusing Copyrighted Material
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What Do I Need Permission For?
You generally DO need permission to:
- Reuse a survey or assessment instrument created by another person
- Reprint a table, figure, or image from a book or journal article
- Reprint a copyrighted image from the Internet (assume all images are copyrighted unless stated otherwise)
- Make modifications to a copyrighted image or an image released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license
- Reprint copyrighted images or images released under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license in a book, journal, or other commercial venue
You generally DO NOT need permission to:
- Quote brief excerpts from a scholarly work
- Reprint images released under a Creative Commons license
- Make modifications to images released under Creative Commons licenses that do not contain " No Derivatives "
- Reprint images released under Creative Commons licenses that do not contain " Non-Commercial " in a book, journal, or other commercial venue
- Reuse any work that is in the public domain
Finding Permission-Free Images
Pumerantz Library's Medical Images & Videos research guide has a section dedicated to resources for finding public domain and Creative Commons-licensed images.
You can also limit Google Images searches to images you can freely reuse or modify for commercial or noncommercial purposes:
A citation for an image or figure should have the following:
- Title of the image
- Author or creator of the image
- Source of the figure or image
- Copyright or Creative Commons license
- "Reprinted with permission from [Copyright holder]' (if relevant)
- Description of any modifications to the image (if relevant)
Sample citations for Creative Commons images can be found here .
If the original source is a book or journal, include the full citation for the source, not just a URL (even if you originally retrieved the work online). More information about book and article citations can be found on the Pumerantz Library's Citation Style research guide .
If the original source is a website, embed the link to the title rather than typing out the full URL in the citation.
How Do I Request Permission to Reuse Material?
Who owns the copyright?
- Journal articles: The copyright owner is usually the journal (or the journal's publisher), not the author.
- Books: The author usually retains the copyright, but the publisher generally handles reprint requests.
- Websites: This can be tricky to determine. Some websites create all their own content, including images, and own the copyright on everything on the site. Other websites, like blogs or aggregator sites, may use images and other content from multiple sources. You can paste the image's URL into a reverse image search to track down the original copyright owner.
How do I contact the copyright owner?
- Journal articles: You can often find a link on the article's website that says something like "Get rights" or "Request permissions." This will take you directly to a page where you can request permission. If not, you can usually find a "Contact us" link on the journal's home page and submit the request that way.
- Books: You can contact the publisher using the mailing address listed on the copyright page of the book or look for a "Contact us" or "Request permissions" link on the publisher's website.
- Websites: If you are fairly sure the website is the original owner of the content you want, use the "Contact us" form or other contact information listed to submit your request. If the website is not the owner, try to find contact information for the original creator--a link to the owner's site is often embedded in their name, if it is listed.
How long does it take to hear back?
It depends! In some cases, you will hear back in a few days. Other times, you may hear back in weeks, months--or never. It is a good idea to give yourself at least a month or two if you can.
Will I be charged a fee to reuse material?
Again, it depends on the copyright owner. Many creators and publishers will allow students to reuse items in their theses or dissertations for free. Others may charge a nominal fee or fees ranging in the hundreds of dollars.
What are my options if permission is denied or too expensive--or if I just never hear back?
It is a good idea to have a backup plan, like another permission-free image or a brief written description of the desired figure (in your own words) to use instead. If only the original material will work, you can consider appealing (once, and politely) to the copyright owner. If this does not work, you may need to cut the material altogether.
Can I just redraw the figure myself? Then I'll have the rights to the image, right?
No. This is legally murky at best (if you redraw the image in a completely different way) and shady/illegal at worst. Use one of the solutions listed above instead.
Copyright and permissions can be difficult to navigate. If you need help, please email Kelli Hines or use the icons above to contact one of the reference librarians.
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Understanding copyright for journal authors
What is copyright.
Copyright is a type of intellectual property which protects certain sorts of original creative work, including academic articles. Copyright allows the creator of a work to decide whether, and under what conditions, their work may be used, published and distributed by others. As such, it governs how others can use, publish and distribute articles.
Understanding your copyright options as an author is becoming ever more important, especially with the growth of open access publishing .
Find out more about article publishing charges, embargo, and license information with the Open Access Cost Finder.
How long does copyright last?
Copyright in a work does not last forever. The exact duration of copyright depends on the type of work and can vary between countries. However, for a literary work such as an academic article, the duration is usually life of the author plus 70 years.
Copyright at Taylor & Francis
To publish an article and make it available, we need publishing rights from you for that work. We therefore ask authors publishing in one of our journals to sign an author contract which grants us the necessary publishing rights. This will be after your manuscript has been through the peer-review process, been accepted and moves into production. Our Production team will then send you an email with all the details.
Publishing tips, direct to your inbox
Expert tips and guidance on getting published and maximizing the impact of your research. Register now for weekly insights direct to your inbox.
Standard articles in subscription journals
There are two main options for authors publishing a (non open access) article in a subscription journal. These are copyright assignment or exclusive license to publish.
1. Copyright assignment
In our standard author contract, you transfer – or “assign” – copyright to us as the owner and publisher of the journal (or, in the case of a society-owned journal, to that learned society).
Assigning the copyright enables us to:
Effectively manage, publish and make your work available to the academic community and beyond.
Act as stewards of your work as it appears in the scholarly record.
Handle reuse requests on your behalf.
Take action when appropriate where your article has been infringed or plagiarized.
Increase visibility of your work through third parties.
After assigning copyright, you will still retain the right to:
Be credited as the author of the article.
Make printed copies of your article to use for a lecture or class that you are leading on a non-commercial basis.
Share your article using your free eprints with friends, colleagues and influential people you would like to read your work.
Include your article in your thesis or dissertation.
Present your article at a meeting or conference and distribute printed copies of the article on a non-commercial basis.
Post the Author’s Original Manuscript (AOM) / Accepted Manuscript (AM) on a departmental, personal website or institutional repositories depending on embargo period. To find the embargo period for any Taylor & Francis journal, please use the Open Access Options Finder .
For more information about manuscript versions and how you can use them, please see our guide to sharing your work .
If you publish your article in a Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal, there are many ways you can share different versions of your work with colleagues and peers. Use our article sharing guide to understand manuscript versions and how you can use them.
2. Exclusive license to publish
Alternatively, in some circumstances, you may grant us (or the learned society) an exclusive license to publish your paper rather than assigning copyright. In this arrangement, you as the author retain copyright in your work, but grant us exclusive rights to publish and disseminate it.
As with an assignment, reuse requests are handled by the publisher on your behalf. The publisher will manage the intellectual property rights and represent your article in cases of copyright infringement.
Other forms of license
Other forms of copyright license may be available depending on your specific circumstances – for example, US government employees.
Open access articles
When you publish an open access article , you will retain the copyright in your work. We will ask you to sign an author contract which gives us the right to publish the Version of Record of your article. This author contract incorporates the Creative Commons license of your choice, which will dictate what others can do with your article once it has been published. Find out which licenses your chosen journal offers by using the open access cost finder.
Attribution (CC BY)
Others can distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
We offer this license on the majority of our full Open and the majority of hybrid Open Select journals (when publishing on a gold open access basis).
Attribution-Non-commercial (CC BY-NC)
Others can remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
We offer this license on the majority of our full Open journals.
Attribution-Non-commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
Others can download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
We offer this license on our hybrid Open Select journals (when publishing on a gold open access basis) and some full Open titles.
Please visit the Creative Commons website for more details about licenses.
Understanding article reuse
Each license offers different reuse rights. The table below gives a quick overview of how others can use your work, based on the relevant license.
Frequently asked questions
What if i do not own the copyright in the article i have written.
We seek to accommodate authors who are employees of governments, international organizations, or commercial corporations. Such entities will generally own copyright in works created as part of an employee’s employment.
Such entities will normally issue and grant Taylor & Francis a “non-exclusive” license to publish. In such situations, the publishing agreement stipulates that in doing so, such entities recognize Taylor & Francis as the sole licensee for the publication of the final, definitive, and citable Version of Scholarly Record.
If you work for World Health Organization (WHO) or the World Bank they will retain copyright in the article and authors negotiate whether exclusive or nonexclusive rights are given.
If you are employed by the UK Government, your work is covered by Crown Copyright . Crown Copyright applies to material which is produced by Crown employees during their work. Therefore, most material originated by ministers and civil servants is protected by Crown Copyright.
If you are employed by the US Government, your work is covered by the US Government Copyright .
If I have used any third-party material, whether previously published or not, do I need to acknowledge this?
Yes. You will need to obtain written permission in advance from any third-party owners of copyright for the use in print and electronic formats of any of their text, illustrations, graphics, or other material, in your article and in our journals. The same applies to any other rights held by third parties such as trademarks, design rights, database rights and rights relating to private information and confidentiality.
Taylor & Francis is a signatory of, and respects, the spirit of the STM Permissions Guidelines regarding the free sharing and dissemination of scholarly information. As such, we participate in the reciprocal free exchange of material. It is also important to ensure you acknowledge the source of the original content.
For further details please read our guide to using third party material in your article .
Creative Commons licenses .
UK Intellectual Property Office’s What is copyright? guide.
US Government’s Copyright Office guide to copyright .
World Intellectual Property Organization guide to copyright .
Finding and Using Images
- Find Images
- Citing Images
Images in Scholarly Work & Theses
Get copyright permission, not able to get permission, code of best practices for fair use in the visual arts, statement on the fair use of images for teaching, research & study, public domain.
- Creative Commons
- For Faculty
As soon as an intellectual work (on-screen an idea in fixed tangible form) is created it is protected by copyright. No need to request or register which makes it very easy.
When a work is created, there is a defined amount of time for the work to be protected by copyright. The current guidelines have been in existence since 1978 and there are a few variations on works published before that year. Check out the table for a brief outline of copyright guidelines. Take note that works created before 1923 are in the “public domain” which means they are free for anyone to use without copyright restrictions.
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Copyright Resources Guidance on academic use of images from the Visual Resources Association
- Copyright Flowchart Flowchart for determining when US copyrights for fixed works expire
- Wikipedia: Copyright Situations by Country Current copyright situation in various countries, briefly describing which works are considered in the public domain in each country.
- Cornell Copyright Information Center A Guide to Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
Digital Commons @ SIA
Coming in 2016:
Digital Commons @ SIA is a repository of the research, scholarship, and creative works of Sotheby's Institute of Art faculty, students, and staff. Administered by the SIA New York Library, the repository increases the global visibility of our campus community’s intellectual output and seeks to showcase and preserve our rich and unique history in the art world.
Digital Commons @ SIA is an open-access institutional repository, with freely accessible content that is searchable via Google Scholar and other search engines.
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
SIA students have the option to include their thesis in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database. With more than 4 million entries, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. Having an electronic copy available online has far more benefits than just having a copy kept in the library. An online copy may widen your readership by being easy to locate and access. You may also widen your visibility as a scholar by having your research available online. SIA students will be asked to try and obtain copyright permissions for images, if necessary, used in a thesis they upload to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database.
Do I need to obtain copyright permissions for images in my thesis?
The library encourages SIA students to try and obtain copyright permission for copyrighted images in the thesis as they are working on it. Maintaining records of all permissions secured will benefit you for the future use and publication of your work.
The library also encourages writers of image-heavy theses to get comfortable with fair use. Common material under copyright can include images, graphs and lengthy quotations.
Your publishing agreement with ProQuest places responsibility for securing all copyright permission solely on the author.
Are the images in my thesis considered Fair Use?
If you are using images for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research then you are more than likely falling under the fair use principle of copyright, and therefore they may be used without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.
There are several factors to keep in mind to ensure images, maps, or other illustrative material in your paper are used in a manner consistent with the doctrine of fair use.
- It is better to use images at a resolution adequate for your purposes, but not of such rich quality that they may encroach on any potential market for the original works
- Make sure that the images used are subject to a scholarly analysis, criticism or comment in your paper.
- Do not use more of the work than necessary.
- Attempt to gain permissions for any images you’ve used that are under copyright.
- Gaining permissions may prove difficult. Retain all documentation related to your efforts.
See the Fair Use section for more information. You can also use the Fair Use Checklist to determine if your images fall under Fair Use.
- Fair Use Checklist
When you begin to obtain copyright permissions for your thesis, stay organized. Try using our checklist to keep track of your letters and permission forms. It is a good idea to start as soon as possible if you know you are including copyrighted images.
- Find out if the work is still under copyright protection. You can find this out by following the guidelines set out in the Copyright Office or Library of Congress ( www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#hlc ). Anything created prior to 1900 is probably not protected anymore.
- Determine who owns the copyright, which can usually be done by contacting the publisher. If you have difficulty identifying an owner, contact the Library for assistance.
- Request permission from the owner by using a permission request letter similar to the example below.
- Keep a copy of your correspondence for your records. Also, keep in mind permission is specific only to the uses you have requested. If you want to use previously permitted material in a new work, for example a textbook, you should contact the copyright owner for a new permission.
- How to Get Permission For Use - Columbia University This page provides an overview of procedures for contacting and requesting permission from a copyright owner to use a copyrighted work.
Sometimes students are unable to obtain permission. Perhaps the copyright owner does not get back to you after writing them. For the purpose of images in your thesis there are some options. Make sure to keep all efforts of contact with the copyright owner for good-faith purposes.
Is it Fair Use?
See the Fair Use section below to check if your use of images falls under Fair Use. Such uses of images do not require special permissions.
Use Thumbnail Images
Use public domain images.
Perhaps the image you are trying to use is located in a recent publication under copyright. It may be that the image can be found in an older publication in the public domain . How old is the image? See the Public Domain section below for more information.
Fair use is a copyright principle that allows users of information to be able to use intellectual property while still enabling the creator to be able to own and profit from their work. If you are using an intellectual work for any of these reasons then you are more than likely falling under the fair use principle of copyright.
These reasons include criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.
What counts as “fair use” of something depends on these four main factors:
1) The Purpose and Character of Use: How have you used the work? Have you transformed the original work by adding new expression or meaning?
2) The Nature of the Copyrighted Work: Is the work factual in nature or creative? Is it unpublished or published? Different factors about the original work will have an effect on fair use.
3) The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used: How much of the original work are you quoting, summarizing or using? (Quoting three lines of a six line poem is different than quoting three line from a five-minute song). And, of the portion that you are using - how much of the “substantial” idea of the work are you using?
4) The Effect of the Use on the Original Work in the Market: Does the way you use the work deprive the copyright owner of income? Or does it undermine a new or potential market for the original work?
For more information on fair use check out Stanford University's guide to Fair Use .
The College Art Association's Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts addresses the following five questions:
- Analytic Writing: When may scholars and other writers about art invoke fair use to quote, excerpt, or reproduce copyrighted works?
- Teaching about Art: When may teachers invoke fair use in using copyrighted works to support formal instruction in a range of settings, including online and distance teaching?
- Making Art: Under what circumstances may artists invoke fair use to incorporate copyrighted material into new artworks in any medium?
- Museum Uses: When may museums and their staffs invoke fair use in using copyrighted works—including images and text as well as time-based and born-digital material—when organizing exhibitions, developing educational materials (within the museum and online), publishing catalogues, and other related activities?
- Online Access to Archival and Special Collections: When may such institutions and their staffs invoke fair use to create digital preservation copies and/or enable digital access to copyrighted materials in their collections?
- Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts This Code of Best Practices provides visual-arts professionals with a set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. It describes how fair use can be invoked and implemented when using copyrighted materials in scholarship, teaching, museums, archives, and in the creation of art.
- Fair Use In Writing About Art Infographic
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about how the Code of Best Practices can be used to evaluate your use of copyrighted materials? Not sure if your use of copyrighted materials falls under the fair use doctrine? Check here for frequently asked questions .
The Visual Resources Association with the assistance of a legal advisory committee recently released an opinion statement clearly stating (pages 11-12) that reproducing images in theses and dissertations is consistent with "fair use".
- The VRA report has a list of five helpful suggestions for using images in theses and dissertations on page 12 of the report .
No permission is needed to use works in the public domain because they are not protected by copyright. Most works enter the public domain when the law no longer considers them under copyright.
Some databases that include images in the public domain can be found under the Find Images tab.
Creative Commons is a way for you to share your ideas and creative work with the rest of the world, while also making decisions about how you want your intellectual work to be credited to you.
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Copyright on Campus: Copyright Concerns of Graduate Researchers
- Copyright Law Basics
- The Public Domain
- Copyright Concerns of Graduate Researchers
- Author Rights
- Creative Commons
- Attribution & Plagiarism
- Showing Movies in Class and on Campus
- Copyright & Data Management
Incorporating Copyrighted Content in Theses/Dissertations
You should assume that anything produced by someone other than yourself is protected by copyright unless you determine otherwise (e.g. determine that the term of copyright protection has expired and the work is in the public domain). The types of works protected by copyright include books, articles, newspapers, photographs, music, movies, software, and even things you find on the internet.
Use of works protected by copyright in your dissertation or thesis will need either permission or a fair use justification. Fair use is an exception to the copyright holder's exclusive rights. In order to use copyrighted works under a claim of fair use, the following factors must be weighed: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. For more on fair use, click on the Fair Use tab above.
Fair use provides an indispensable opportunity for scholarship, since so much of research involves building upon the insights of others. Quotations from other writers are a regular part of most scholarship and are generally consider a classic example of fair use. There is no exact rule about how much one may quote and remain within the boundaries of fair use. Various guidelines that offer specific numbers of words or lines are advisory and do not have the force of law . In general, quotations from the work of others should be no longer than is necessary to support the scholarly point you wish to make. When you are subjecting the quoted material to scholarly criticism or comment, you have more leeway for fair use than in many other situations, but you should be sure that you do not use more of someone else's work than is necessary for the argument that you are making in your own thesis/dissertation.
In the case of images, you should be sure that the pictures you reproduce are closely tied to your research goals and are each made the subject of specific scholarly comment. If you use a large number of copyright-protected images by a single artist, or in some other way threaten to supersede the market for the original works, it is wise to seek permission. If you have flexibility in the final selection of your images, search for images that are 1) in the public domain, or 2) made available for reuse via a Creative Commons license. Such images can be incorporated into your dissertation without permission or concern for fair use.
If you determine that permission is necessary, the first step is to locate the copyright holder. This may not always be the author; sometimes copyright ownership is transferred to a publisher or to an author's estate if he or she is deceased. Once you determine who to request permission from, it is best to send a written letter of request. An email letter is sufficient. Model permissions letters can be viewed here . It is best to get written documentation of permissions. You should retain copies of all permissions in your files.
Finally, remember to always provide proper attribution to the sources of the works you incorporate into your thesis or dissertation. Proper attribution is absolutely required; that’s a part of academic integrity and good scholarship. Copyright permission, if necessary, is an entirely separate matter and does not obviate the need for attribution.
Additional Resources :
Columbia University Advisory Office - " Permissions "
ProQuest/Kenny Crews - " Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities "
University of Michigan - " A Graduate Student's Guide to Copyright: Open Access, Fair Use, and Permissions "
From Dissertation to Publication - FAQ on Your Rights as Author
Who owns the copyright of a thesis or dissertation?
You do! The copyright of a thesis or dissertation belongs to you as the author. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, works are automatically copyrighted at the moment they are fixed in a tangible form, including residing on your computer's hard drive. You continue to own that copyright until you transfer it to another party. A transfer of copyright must be in writing. If parts of a work have already been published and copyright in those other works was transferred to someone else (e.g. a publisher), copyright of those parts remains with whom it was transferred to.
Who owns copyright in work produced as part of a team or in a lab?
Whenever a group undertakes a project or research, it is best to have a discussion up front, including the faculty advisor or chair, to clarify how copyright, patents and other intellectual property will be managed and who will retain and manage rights for all portions of the project. Be sure to consider not only publications arising from the project, but also data sets, software, websites, user interfaces, specifications, and any other outputs. It is always best to make sure that faculty make clear to graduate students and others working for them how research outputs will be owned or used in order to avoid confusion. In circumstances where grant funds or University funding is significantly invested in the project or research, other ownership interests may be at play, which should be discussed and understood.
Do I need to register my copyright?
You do not need to register with the Copyright Office in order to enjoy copyright protection. Such protection is automatic, coming into effect at the moment a work is fixed in a tangible form. However, registration has certain advantages. First, if your work is registered you have strong evidence that you are the author of the work and the owner of its copyright. Also, registration is necessary to enforce a copyright against an infringer or plagiarist. For full detail, read the U.S. Copyright Office circular " Copyright Basics ". The benefits of registration are outlined on Page 7.
Registration can be completed online directly (for a fee of $35) through the Copyright Office website or through ProQuest (for a fee of $55) who will register the copyright for you and in your name.
Can I use previously published articles of my own in my work?
It depends. You will need to review the agreement you signed with the publisher of our previously published article. Most agreements require you to transfer your copyright to the publisher. If this is the case, you must request permission from the publisher to "reprint" the article as a chapter in your dissertation. However, some agreements specify that you retain the right to reprint the article in your dissertation. The chart below details several publishers' policies with respect to reusing your own previously published work in a thesis or dissertation; however, you should always review the terms of any agreement you signed.
Why do I have two publishing agreements to review and sign, and what do I need to understand about them?
University of Florida dissertations are distributed by both ProQuest/UMI and the UF Libraries. Both will make your work available and preserve it for the future (ProQuest through its Dissertations and Theses database and print sales if you choose to allow that, and the UF Libraries through its institutional repository, the IR@UF ). In return for those services, both ProQuest and the UF Libraries require you to certify that the work is your own and that you are not infringing the rights of others. These agreements also provide a mechanism for all parties to recognize your rights as an author.
Please note, by signing these agreements you still retain copyright, including the right to publish your work; the licenses you give to ProQuest/UMI and to the UF Libraries does not preclude publishing any part of your dissertation in another form or prevent you from transferring your copyright to some other party at a later date. A license is a permission you give to others to use your work in ways that would otherwise not be permitted by copyright law; they are not a transfer of your copyright.
The agreement with UF Libraries requires that you give a license to UF to put your dissertation in the IR@UF and distribute it in a way that allows other scholars to read it and use it for non-commercial purposes, as long as they do not make changes to your work and always give you credit. This license is designed to enable scholarship and to protect you from plagiarism. The agreement with ProQuest/UMI grants ProQuest the non-exclusive right to reproduce and disseminate your work according to the conditions you elect in the agreement, including whether to make your work available after a specified embargo period and whether to make it available open access.
Both publishing agreements allow students to elect to make their dissertations available immediately or after a specific limited period of time known as an embargo. An embargo may be appropriate and desired when a student wants to allow time to explore publishing part of it in other forms, if the dissertation contains material for which a patent might be sought, or if it includes other sensitive or confidential information.
What is open access, and how does it apply to my thesis or dissertation?
Articles, books, theses and dissertations are said to be "open access" when they are "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions." By making publications open access, the widest sharing of ideas and research results is made possible, which is generally done either by publishing in open access journals or depositing them in open access repositories such as PubMed Central, arXiv, or the IR@UF. University of Florida policy is for all new dissertations to be available open access through the IR@UF, either immediately or after an embargo period.
Will journal or book publishers consider publishing my work if it is based on an open access thesis or dissertation?
Recent surveys show that a majority of journal editors and university presses would accept submissions of articles and book manuscripts that were based upon theses or dissertations, even if they are available in an open access repository. This is in part because most publishers consider theses and dissertations to be "student work" that will require substantial editing and revision before being published in article or book form. The chart below summarizes the policies of some publishers regarding the publication of new works from a thesis or dissertation.
Publisher Policies on Reuse of Articles in Dissertations and Publication of Content within Dissertations
The table below summarizes selected publisher policies on student reuse of their own previously published works as well as the policies on publishing portions of a thesis or dissertation as an article.
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A New Way to Tell Deepfakes From Real Photos: Can It Work?
Instead of detecting fakes, this effort aims to authenticate and track online images from the start; adobe’s chief trust officer on the strategy.
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Earlier this year, an image of the Pope in a chic white puffer coat went viral, in a striking example of how an AI-generated image can fool the internet. With a flood of this content predicted, we’ll need new ways to tell what’s real and what’s not.
“Can we build an AI deepfake detector?” was the initial idea when work started four years ago on one such effort to create a standard for online images, says Dana Rao , general counsel and chief trust officer at Adobe , maker of Photoshop. Adobe is one of the companies spearheading the Content Authenticity Initiative, a global coalition of 2,000 members from tech, policy and media (including The Wall Street Journal).
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Artists lose first copyright battle in the fight against AI-generated images
But the fight may not be lost as the court allowed the artists to claim copyright infringement against stability ai, midjourney, and devianart, on workpieces that the artists had filed a copyright for..
Senior Writer, Computerworld |
In a class action lawsuit filed against AI-generated image service providers Stability AI, Midjourney, and DevianArt, a US district judge ruled that determining whether generated images may be in direct violation of copyright laws is “not plausible” at the moment.
The judge, who was responding to a motion to dismiss the case filed by the image service providers, said that he was “largely” granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss and allowing plaintiffs to amend their submission on how Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt violated any copyright laws.
Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California, filed a 28-page decision that details how the lawsuit brought by artists Sarah Anderson, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz was defective on “numerous” counts and how current submissions made it difficult for the court to make a decision on copyright infringement.
The defects in the case include two of the three artists, McKernan and Ortiz, not filing any copyrights for their work with the US Copyright Office. Anderson, too, only filed copyright for just 16 of her images out of the hundreds cited in the lawsuit.
AI models were trains using existing works of art
The three artists have contested that the AI service providers used datasets from LIAON to train their AI models and LIAON included the works of the artists as part of their datasets, which resulted in copyright violation.
However, Judge Orrick did not agree with the argument. He wrote: “The other problem for plaintiffs is that it is simply not plausible that every Training Image used to train Stable Diffusion was copyrighted (as opposed to copyrightable), or that all DeviantArt users’ Output Images rely upon (theoretically) copyrighted Training Images, and therefore all Output images are derivative images.”
“ Even if that clarity is provided and even if plaintiffs narrow their allegations to limit them to Output Images that draw upon Training Images based upon copyrighted images, I am not convinced that copyright claims based on a derivative theory can survive absent ‘substantial similarity’ type allegations. The cases plaintiffs rely on appear to recognize that the alleged infringer’s derivative work must still bear some similarity to the original work or contain the protected elements of the original work,” the Judge added.
The ruling could mean that a copyright case may not stand unless the creators of art can prove that any AI-generated image is directly referenced from their work.
Copyright issues over AI-generated content continue
While this ruling could have a huge impact on other trials being conducted in the US, such as coders suing Microsoft-owned GitHub for GPT4’s code-generating capabilities , it offers no permanent shelter for technology companies when it comes to issues around AI-generated content.
In this lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt, Judge Orrick allowed one count filed by Anderson to progress further against Stability AI. Anderson, according to the ruling, can pursue her claim of copyright infringement on her 16 workpieces that she had filed a copyright for.
If Judge Orrick’s ruling is seen as a precedent, then two other cases — Sarah Silverman’s case against Meta and a class action lawsuit against OpenAI — both of which are registered in the Northern District of California and have copyright protection, could see outcomes that may not favor the technology companies.
The rationale seems to be that if a certain piece of work or content is protected vide an application to the US Copyright Office, then the motion to dismiss the claim or suit by the defending technology companies may be denied.
Other technology companies including Google , Adobe, and IBM have also indemnified users against any possible lawsuits arising from the use of their generative AI-based offerings.
- Generative AI
Anirban Ghoshal is a senior writer, covering enterprise software for CIO and databases and cloud infrastructure for InfoWorld.
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AI fake nudes are booming. It’s ruining real teens’ lives.
Artificial intelligence makes it frighteningly easy to transform ordinary pictures into realistic nudes, triggering a surge of fake images of women and teens.
When Gabi Belle learned there was a naked photo of her circulating on the internet, her body turned cold. The YouTube influencer had never posed for the image, which showed her standing in a field without clothes. She knew it must be fake.
But when Belle, 26, messaged a colleague asking for help removing the image he told her there were nearly 100 fake photos scattered across the web, mostly housed on websites known for hosting porn generated by artificial intelligence. They were taken down in July, Belle said, but new images depicting her in graphic sexual situations have already surfaced.
“I felt yucky and violated,” Belle said in an interview. “Those private parts are not meant for the world to see because I have not consented to that. So it’s really strange that someone would make images of me.”
Artificial intelligence is fueling an unprecedented boom this year in fake pornographic images and videos. It’s enabled by a rise in cheap and easy-to-use AI tools that can “undress” people in photographs — analyzing what their naked bodies would look like and imposing it into an image — or seamlessly swap a face into a pornographic video.
On the top 10 websites that host AI-generated porn photos, fake nudes have ballooned by more than 290 percent since 2018, according to Genevieve Oh, an industry analyst. These sites feature celebrities and political figures such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alongside ordinary teenage girls, whose likenesses have been seized by bad actors to incite shame, extort money or live out private fantasies.
Victims have little recourse. There’s no federal law governing deepfake porn, and only a handful of states have enacted regulations. President Biden’s AI executive order issued Monday recommends, but does not require, companies to label AI-generated photos, videos and audio to indicate computer-generated work.
Meanwhile, legal scholars warn that AI fake images may not fall under copyright protections for personal likenesses, because they draw from data sets populated by millions of images. “This is clearly a very serious problem,” said Tiffany Li, a law professor at the University of San Francisco.
The advent of AI images comes at a particular risk for women and teens, many of whom aren’t prepared for such visibility. A 2019 study by Sensity AI, a company that monitors deepfakes, found 96 percent of deepfake images are pornography, and 99 percent of those photos target women.
“It’s now very much targeting girls,” said Sophie Maddocks, a researcher and digital rights advocate at the University of Pennsylvania. “Young girls and women who aren’t in the public eye.”
‘Look, Mom. What have they done to me?’
On Sept. 17, Miriam Al Adib Mendiri was returning to her home in southern Spain from a trip when she found her 14-year-old daughter distraught. Her daughter shared a nude picture of herself.
“Look, Mom. What have they done to me?” Al Adib Mendiri recalled her daughter saying.
She’d never posed nude. But a group of local boys had grabbed clothed photos from the social media profiles of several girls in their town and used an AI “nudifier” app to create the naked pictures, according to police.
Scarlett Johansson on fake AI-generated sex videos: ‘Nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image’
The application is one of many AI tools that use real images to create naked photos, which have flooded the web recent months. By analyzing millions of images, AI software can better predict how a body will look naked and fluidly overlay a face into a pornographic video, said Gang Wang, an expert in AI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Though many AI image-generators block users from creating pornographic material, open source software, such as Stable Diffusion, makes its code public, letting amateur developers adapt the technology — often for nefarious purposes. (Stability AI, the maker of Stable Diffusion, did not return a request for comment.)
Once these apps are public, they use referral programs that encourage users to share these AI-generated photos on social media in exchange for cash, Oh said.
When Oh examined the top 10 websites that host fake porn images, she found more than 415,000 had been uploaded this year, garnering nearly 90 million views.
AI-generated porn videos have also exploded across the web. After scouring the 40 most popular websites for faked videos, Oh found more than 143,000 videos had been added in 2023 — a figure that surpasses all new videos from 2016 to 2022. The fake videos have received more than 4.2 billion views, Oh found.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in June of an uptick of sexual extortion from scammers demanding payment or photos in exchange for not distributing sexual images. While it’s unclear what percentage of these images are AI-generated, the practice is expanding. As of September, over 26,800 people have been victims of “sextortion” campaigns, a 149 percent rise from 2019, the FBI told The Post.
‘You’re not safe as a woman’
In May, a poster on a popular pornography forum started a thread called “I can fake your crush.” The idea was simple: “Send me whoever you want to see nude and I can fake them” using AI, the moderator wrote.
Within hours, photos of women came flooding in. “Can u do this girl? not a celeb or influencer,” one poster asked. “My co-worker and my neighbor?” another one added.
Minutes after a request, a naked version of the image would appear on the thread. “Thkx a lot bro, it’s perfect,” one user wrote.
These fake images reveal how AI amplifies our worst stereotypes
Celebrities are a popular target for fake porn creators aiming to capitalize on search interest for nude photos of famous actors. But websites featuring famous people can lead to a surge in other kinds of nudes. The sites often include “amateur” content from unknown individuals and host ads that market AI porn-making tools.
Google has polices in place to prevent nonconsensual sexual images from appearing in search results, but its protections for deepfake images are not as robust. Deepfake porn and the tools to make it show up prominently on the company’s search engines, even without specifically searching for AI-generated content. Oh documented more than a dozen examples in screenshots, which were independently confirmed by The Post.
Ned Adriance, a spokesman for Google, said in a statement the company is “actively working to bring more protections to search” and that the company lets users request the removal of involuntary fake porn.
Google is in the process of “building more expansive safeguards” that would not require victims to individually request content gets taken down, he said.
Li, of the University of San Francisco, said it can be hard to penalize creators of this content. Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act shields social media companies from liability for the content posted on their sites, leaving little burden for websites to police images.
Victims can request that companies remove photos and videos of their likeness. But because AI draws from a plethora of images in a data set to create a faked photo, it’s harder for a victim to claim the content is derived solely from their likeness, Li said.
“Maybe you can still say: ‘It’s a copyright violation, it’s clear they took my original copyrighted photo and then just added a little bit to it,’” Li said. “But for deep fakes … it’s not that clear … what the original photos were.”
See why AI like ChatGPT has gotten so good, so fast
In the absence of federal laws, at least nine states — including California, Texas and Virginia — have passed legislation targeting deepfakes. But these laws vary in scope: In some states victims can press criminal charges, while others only allow civil lawsuits — though it can be difficult to ascertain whom to sue.
The push to regulate AI-generated images and videos is often intended to prevent mass distribution, addressing concerns about election interference, said Sam Gregory, executive director of the tech human rights advocacy organization Witness.
But these rules do little for deepfake porn, where images shared in small groups can wreak havoc on a person’s life, Gregory added.
Belle, the YouTube influencer, is still unsure how many deepfake photos of her are public and said stronger rules are needed to address her experience.
“You’re not safe as a woman,” she said.