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Ask Slashdot: Best Copyright Terms For a Thesis? 211

Posted by timothy
from the try-the-must-pay-my-loan-license dept.
plopez gets in his first Slashdot submission with this question, writing: "I am wrapping up an MS. In the past I have had problems getting copies of others' work, due to lack of copyright notices on their thesis or dissertation. I don't want that happen to me. I know the joke is 'No one will ever read your thesis,' but in the slim chance it is useful to others I don't want them to be required to hunt me down for a release. Basically I want to say: 'Copyright is released as long as this work or excerpts is properly attributed. Also, any published excerpts cannot be copyrighted by other parties, nor can the original work in its entirety.' Is this good enough? I don't want to encumber legitimate uses of the work but I also don't want some pirate coming along and stealing it out of public domain. Is public domain good enough? Or does it allow the work to be restricted by commercial interests? I know of copyleft, but copyleft is a family of copyright notices and I am unsure which one is right for my intent. Please help."
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Ask Slashdot: Best Copyright Terms For a Thesis?

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  • Creative commons! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NalosLayor (958307) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:03PM (#37498132)
    Creative commons has a tool to help, and human readable licenses. I'd guess you can find what you need there. http://creativecommons.org/ [creativecommons.org]
      • I did this for my PhD (in 2009) too and my school (University of Minnesota) didn't blink over the copyright being CC at all. I also agree with Danah that you should try to make it as available as possible. Even with a CC license it's important that people be able to find it so they can use it. Luckily in my field there is a clearinghouse (ERIC) which will host theses, papers, and articles and distribute them indefinitely. I also allowed the University Archives to post it online. Interestingly, ProQuest late
        • by tepples (727027)

          Your institution and department don't have any claim to your work (unless they are directly paying for it, but even so giving up the rights to it would be rather unusual)

          The institution might argue that it is paying for its students' work not with dollars but with course credit. No copyright assignment, and it's graded incomplete.

          • That would not fly in the US. I do believe that in some countries universities may have copyright claim on student work but this is simply not the case in the US unless there is a contract and funding making it a work for hire or copyright assignment. I am not aware of any US schools which have such requirements and I study and practice in the field of education.
            • by digitig (1056110)
              The university I studied at in the UK did not claim copyright on my dissertation, but it would be a breach of university regulations if I were to publish it, which could, in the extreme, lead to my degree being revoked. I could, of course, publish a rewritten version containing the same information.
              • by kthreadd (1558445)

                That's exactly why private and for profit universities should not be allowed to exist.

              • So far as I understand it, British universities could claim copyright on a thesis but typically don't - but they'd certainly be quite pissed off if you published commercially. I do remember signing some copyright form or other when I submitted my PhD, though, so maybe they actually did claim copyright. I must confess by that point I was so tired and sick of the thesis that I'd have signed anything to get it over with. It's not practically *that* important, since the thesis is up for the world to see at the

                • by RDW (41497)

                  So far as I understand it, British universities could claim copyright on a thesis but typically don't - but they'd certainly be quite pissed off if you published commercially.

                  I don't believe this is normally the case, e.g.:

                  "I understand that the rights granted to the UCL Institutional Repository through this agreement are entirely non-exclusive and royalty free and that I am free to publish the Work in its present version or future versions elsewhere."

                  or:

                  "Rights granted to the University of Warwick and the British Library and the user of the thesis through this
                  agreement are non-exclusive. I retain all rights in the thesis in its present version or future versions

            • Not sure where you're writing from but I am pretty sure when I started my PhD in the UK the documents said the university owned the copyright on all the work I produced. Go back to the university's regulations that you signed up to and check what they say.

              As another poster has noted, I don't think they'd chase you if you wrote up journal papers or books out of your thesis, and they are unlikely to mind your work being posted on your website, distributed across academic channels (usual repositories etc). I

            • by Smallpond (221300)

              That would not fly in the US. I do believe that in some countries universities may have copyright claim on student work but this is simply not the case in the US unless there is a contract and funding making it a work for hire or copyright assignment. I am not aware of any US schools which have such requirements and I study and practice in the field of education.

              Well, then you aren't paying attention. Here's the rules MIT has - it looks like they get the copyright if they paid for any part of your research or you used their facilities, which means almost everybody.

              http://hst.mit.edu/servlet/ControllerServlet?handler=PublicHandler&action=browse&pageId=457#Intellectual_Property_Copyright_Publication [mit.edu]

              • They're mostly concerned with you using their facilities extensively, many times that is not the case. Also, you'll see exceptions if you bring any money/resource into the picture with it's own strings attached (NSF funding is specifically called out). For a terminal MS this is probably less common but in the PhD world you almost always bring your own pot of money to the table and thus can make some of your own demands. I suspect that in the end MIT only ends up owning the rights to a very selective number
          • by hedwards (940851)

            They might argue that, but if you're paying tuition, then they can't make that claim. They're giving the credits in exchange for payment provided the work is completed satisfactorily. There might be a plausible claim if the college is picking up the tab and providing the credits for free.

            • by tepples (727027)
              Which I guess is why universities try to get everyone competent on at least some sort of scholarship aid, so that the college can put a finger on "these credits are the free ones; give us your copyright".
          • by Surt (22457)

            In most of the world such an institution would be risking their accreditation. Coercive contracts are a no-no.

        • Your institution and department don't have any claim to your work

          How can you possibly say that without knowing where he is?

    • Re:Creative commons! (Score:5, Informative)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:07PM (#37498170)

      And what he's probably looking for is CC BY-ND [creativecommons.org]. "This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you."

      • by melikamp (631205) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:13PM (#37498644) Homepage Journal
        Darn, my mod points just expired :) This is pretty much exactly what the OP asked for. Although, OP said "I also don't want some pirate coming along and stealing it out of public domain", so may be CC BY-SA [creativecommons.org] is more up to the task. It all depends on whether derivative works that go beyond verbatim quotation are desirable.
      • by oneiros27 (46144)

        Please do not *ever* recommend ND for anything of this nature again.

        Think about it -- research builds upon other research. That's the whole point of publishing research.

        We *want* people to build on the work. ND *specifically* tells people 'you're not allowed to do *anything* with my research'. SA's another messy one, as it sets a restriction on derivatives.

        The best thing authors should do is to make sure that they don't lose their rights to the document, so that they can re-distribute the paper, no matte

        • can you explain why ND is bad? As far as I can tell, it just means that you can't make a derivative of the work itself. In research, you're not supposed to change someone else's research into your own; you're supposed to build on it: i.e., take the idea in it, then write your own story of that idea. ND allows for it, because it applies to the exact text of the dissertation, not the idea behind it.

          Then again, IANAL, and I would love to get some input from someone with more understanding of these terms.

          • 'derivative' would include something like grabbing a copy of a chart or a table of figures published in the first paper. I don't write papers, so I'm not sure how much of a pain in the ass it would be to remake them (though I imagine a lot, since raw data usually isn't included), but I see this tactic uses very very frequently in secondary papers.

      • CC-BY-ND is what I used for my thesis [goo.gl]. Given that the default copyright status of any work such as a thesis is "all rights reserved", I don't see how this can be a bad thing: it's just an explicit waiver of certain rights. Attribution and originality are considered important in a typical "western" academic environment (maybe elsewhere also -- I wouldn't know), and that's all the "BY" and "ND" parts assert. In fact, the "BY" and "ND" parts are intended to preserve the integrity of the work for the sake of cl

  • Because no matter what your intentions are, I would highly advise against jeopardizing the progress of your MS just because you want to use copyright terms that your department doesn't agree with. If you haven't already, I would very highly recommend you check with them first to see how they manage the copyright of theses that are written there. Depending on the institution you may even need to go higher than that to find the official policy and find out if it has any flexibility.
    • by RyoShin (610051)

      This. When I wrote my thesis (for my bachelor's in CompSci), my Thesis department basically said "this is a work for hire, we own the rights to it, you can share it personally for academic pursuits" or something along those lines.

      • Work for hire? Who pays whom when a thesis is written? I always thought it was the student paying (indirectly through tuition) the professor. How can this be a work for hire?
        • by RyoShin (610051)

          The thesis program at my campus is a joint progress between the campus thesis department and the internship the student undertakes. Every senior's thesis is about a real-world project that they develop and implement at the company they intern with; some theses have saved companies millions of dollars or increased the efficiency in processes by two or three times. Because of this, they are often seen as "works for hire"; the company is given the option up-front to make the thesis "protected" (not their ter

          • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:23PM (#37498698)
            So basically your shit got stolen by corporate thugs who held your education for ransom?
            • by RyoShin (610051)

              Not quite. The copyright doesn't differ to them entirely, even if it's a protected thesis, but you are also limited in how you can distribute it yourself, even if it's public.

              But for your thesis to be accepted by the college, it has to first be approved by the corporation; there are methods to get around this in case there's a falling out or the company otherwise drops out of the internship program, but I hear they're hard and time-consuming. So, yeah, the corporation can hold your education for ransom if

      • my Thesis department basically said "this is a work for hire, we own the rights to it, you can share it personally for academic pursuits" or something along those lines.

        That's such bullshit. If the institution paid you to write a thesis, then it would be a work for hire, but actually YOU pay the INSTITUTION to LET you write a thesis for them. How the hell can they claim copyright over it?

        • by RyoShin (610051)

          Because my work place did pay me to write the thesis. Again, it was a joint-venture of sorts; that's mainly where the whole copyright thing comes in.

        • This is an odd case that demonstrates why words in legal senses have complex convoluted meanings. To "pay" someone is not necessarily to give them money. To "pay" is to give another entity a thing of value in exchange for services or goods they have rendered you.

          In this case, you pay the school cash money and in exchange they allow you to attend classes and receive credit and so on. But they also are giving you things that are valuable: Course credit. Course credit, and degrees, are essentially the un
  • ...by you and state the year you wrote it. Also, use the copyright sign and the phrase all rights reserved. Then this, "Copyright is released as long as this work or excerpts is properly attributed. Also, any published excerpts cannot be copyrighted by other parties, nor can the original work in its entirety," is assumed.
    • by Larryish (1215510)

      What douche modded this Insightful?

      "properly attributed"

      That language is ambiguous and would not last a moment in court.

  • by Dan B. (20610) <slashdot AT bryar DOT com DOT au> on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:07PM (#37498174) Homepage

    It doesn't matter what you want to put on your thesis, you university owns the copyrights to it.

    I'd suggest you contact your Uni and put the same question to them, rather than 6 million /. Subscribers.

    • by geekboybt (866398)

      This is not necessarily true. At mine, we simply have to submit a form that grants them permission to keep a copy for their archives. I'm free to do what I will with my work beyond that.

    • Re:You don't own it (Score:5, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:28PM (#37498368) Homepage Journal

      It doesn't matter what you want to put on your thesis, you university owns the copyrights to it.

      I don't think that's even true for half the universities. I'd be surprised if it was true for 1/3 or 1/4.

      I've seen thesis manuscripts with and without copyright language and none of them has ever been held up or given any trouble from the institution. And I've been on PhD panels for several universities, public and private. Had scores of grad students get their degree without this ever becoming an issue.

      I remember a university head librarian who wanted to make an issue out of this and he was practically laughed out of the meeting. And this at a top-five US school.

      All of this changes with faculty research and other publications, of course. Then it matters, big time.

    • It doesn't matter what you want to put on your thesis, you university owns the copyrights to it.

      I'd suggest you contact your Uni and put the same question to them, rather than 6 million /. Subscribers.

      At my university, if your research is not funded by the school, you own the copyright to any works you produce. If you are funded, the school does claim copyright on anything you produce.

    • This. We had to sign the university copyright notice before submitting the thesis. It had three levels: no library access, access from on-site, free access (although this applied only to the electronic version, the print version was expected not to go into circulation of any kind).

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by 517714 (762276)
        No, you were TOLD you had to sign it. If you chose not to they would have no ability compel you to do so unless they had informed you of this requirement before you entered into their program. Imposing such a requirement after you had invested your time and tuition would constitute a unilateral change to the existing contract between you and the university.
    • by Xugumad (39311)

      I believe the university will want you to sign over copyright, but it's not a requirement. There will be some usage they insist on, but I couldn't tell you details off hand. Some theses are commercially sensitive (either outright paid for by a company, or the student will be selling the research), and there's definitely exemptions made for those.

      However, the university will be in a much better position to advise on this stuff.

  • by monk (1958) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:08PM (#37498176) Homepage

    You lose all control over the material and some ugly things can happen.

    The Creative Commons licenses give you excellent control and they have a helpful tool on the website to pick the license you want [creativecommons.org]. And attribution is required in the license which will handle your citation requirement.

    There are others including the GNU free documentation license is a bit more specialized, but CC should be plenty for your needs and most importantly has a community of users and attorneys backing it up. You can probably get quite a bit of help if you ever need to defend it.

    • Meanwhile, for those of us who aren't into trying to control information, the public domain is where the beautiful things happen.
    • You lose all control over the material and some ugly things can happen.

      Either give some example and reference for the above quote, or I call FUD.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:09PM (#37498196)

    put not for use on turnitin on the copyright

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      That way when someone copies large parts of it and submits it as their own work, it's harder to tell?

  • Some of need are vague and slightly contradictory when i read them.
    Have a look at the Attribution-NonCommercial one that xkcd uses but that might interfere with journal publishing.
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/ [creativecommons.org]

    What to do you mean pirates if a pirate can access the file and they don't care about the copyright then it does not matter what license you use.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:19PM (#37498286) Homepage
    "In the past I have had problems getting copies of others' work, due to lack of copyright notices on their thesis or dissertation."

    Uhhh...huh? Theses are academic sources. The university library where the thesis was finished will have a copy. Lack of copyright notice does not mean you can't use the work as long as you don't simply reproduce it and sell it. I really don't understand what is being asked here.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      But going to the library makes his head hurt! Shit what is it with this younger generation? It's called RESEARCH and it's SUPPOSED to be hard. Not everything is on wikipedia.
      • Why exactly is it supposed to be hard? Keep the knowledge to those who can afford it?

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          Discipline, and because things that come easily are seldom retained.
          • No one forbids you from handicapping yourself and taking the long way to access them. Some of us have work to do and don't have waste time to jumping through hoops, so the alternative to easy access is no access.

  • by cretog8 (144589) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:24PM (#37498340)

    At my university, I own the copyright by default, but when I tried to either do it public domain OR creative commons, the office which handles such things flipped out. They weren't angry or anything, they just didn't get it. It came down to doing things the usual way OR being late submitting and so not graduating. So, I have a typical copyright on my thesis.

    However, now that I think about it (and you could do the same thing), since it's my copyright, there's nothing to stop me (or you) from re-publishing with a Creative Commons license after-the-fact. Hmmm....

    • by tobiah (308208)

      My understanding is the owner of the work may release it under multiple licenses. This is somewhat encouraged in the book, "Intellectual Property and Open Source" (very useful resource on IP), because it allows others to use the one that is most compatible with the other IP they might combine it with.

  • by slew (2918) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:32PM (#37498394)

    IANAL, but I think you are confused a bit between copyright and your license to use the work and patents for the ideas...

    Your thesis is essentially "automagically" copyrighted the date that you write it (at least in the US). You may gain additional protections by asserting your copyright (via a simple notice asserting copyright), or registering the copyright (with the government). At a minimum, usually people incluse a copyright to clarify ownership. Typically, you own the copyright to your thesis (unless for some reason it can considered a work-for-hire say about some work sponsored by some company like if they paid your tuition or gave you money for research).

    If you do own it, you can do whatever you want to license it. You can publish your terms for a license as to what sort of copyrights you are asserting as part of your document, but it isn't actually required (or necessarily binding either athough it can be used as evidence of an implied license). However, if you don't really own it, asserting ownership and including an implied license might get you in trouble (say if the real owner didn't like your giving any rights away with your included license and the infringer simply said that she relied on your statement, you might be on the hook for some damages).

    Normally, it would be just enough to say that you have a copyright on it and be done with it. People can still reference it via fair-use and the actual ideas in your thesis may or may-not be patentable (since the US is now a first-to-file country, you are probably screwed in case someone wanted to steal yur ideas) copyright simply doesn't matter in these cases. As a general rule, you can't release your work to the public domain "with-a-catch". If it's public-domain, it's public-domain. If you care about someone stealing it out of the public domain, you really have to assert a copyright on it and keep it (or donate the copyright to someone you trust to keep it).

    There is, however, a small technicality that you probably need to have answered first. How would someone stumble upon your thesis? Is it *published* somewhere? or is it just on your own personal website (essentially self-published). If it is published somewhere, the publisher may want to assert some copyright on that (unless is is just a university publication which sometimes doesn't care). For example, if you put a paper in an IEEE journal, the IEEE will want copyright assigned to them (so they can sell the journal) as a condition of publishing your paper. If this is the case, you actually don't have much of a choice in the matter.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:40PM (#37498442)

    (with proper attribution)

    Any restriction on this is a despicable attack on the advancement of science.

    Current journal paywalls ought to be against the law. They ensure that only academia
    at the richest institutions have full access to other scientists' work.

    Academics at poorer institutions, here and around the world, and amateur researchers
    who may be just as intelligent as the established, are shut out. It is an outrageous
    and unjustifiable situation.

    We need a different economic model to pay for the service of editing and coordinating
    peer review. Maybe that cost ought to be covered by a journal submission fee.
    Hardcopy publication is now officially not needed, nor should we be paying hardcopy publishing
    companies just for the right to view the online published information. That's rubbish, and
    it's harmful to the progress of knowledge.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When you're ready to provide that different model for academic publishing (and pay for the transition and support for its administration), please let us know. Until then you're just another asshole telling people how they ought to act against their own interests, and against the quite valuable prevailing model of academic publication.

      "Amateur researchers" include the worst of the cranks and religionists, who rightly face enormous hurdles to publication in respected journals.

      And you think a p

      • When you're ready to provide that different model for academic publishing (and pay for the transition and support for its administration), please let us know. Until then you're just another asshole telling people how they ought to act against their own interests, and against the quite valuable prevailing model of academic publication.

        The prevailing model is valuable only to commercial publishers, and their interests are the only ones who are threatened by open access. Good riddance!

    • by pz (113803) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:31PM (#37498746) Journal

      This is a remarkably naive viewpoint. I am responding only because it has been modded (at this point) to +3.

      Journals who require payment for full text or PDF download do not "ensure that only academia and the richest institutions have full access ..." I work at one of the oldest and most famous institutions in the world. Many of the journals where my peers publish are not on the subscription list, and thus I must pay for each access. So, that assertion is not true.

      Each paper costs perhaps $10 to $20. Please show me someone who is smart and motivated enough to be able to contribute to scientific thought and advancement who cannot afford that on occasion. And yes, I pay for those articles out of my own pocket.

      Before the Internet, we had manuscript request cards where, if you saw a paper referenced, you could send a card to the author, and they would mail you back a hardcopy of the manuscript. Up until a few years ago, I would still get one every now and then from somewhere in the far east or Africa. The cost for those is a stamp and a postcard. Please show me someone -- anyone, even one person -- who is sane enough to be able to contribute to science and cannot afford that.

      Even now, most publishers allow authors to post PDFs of their work on the author's private web site. If you can afford internet access, you can get nearly every paper. If you can't get one immediately, you can still send email to the author and request a copy in the email equivalent of the post cards from yesteryear. Please show me anyone -- even one person -- who can afford internet access who cannot get email access and request PDFs, or printed manuscripts, that way.

      Yes, it is not quite as convenient as being able to immediately download manuscripts from the publisher's web sites as soon as they are published. Boo-hoo. I can't afford to live in the best neighborhood, and that impedes my ability to be a professional scientist because I have a longer commute. Is that also despicable? Should I be allowed to live in the best areas for no cost just because I *want* to?

      Modern science, in most but not all fields, is an expensive proposition. The days of amateur scientists making serious contributions in all but a small number of areas are long gone. Saying that we must make all access free (and thus eliminating the valuable filtering service that the journals provide) is a nice pipe-dream but is not rooted in reality. Furthermore, a smart and sufficiently motivated person can make contributions to science -- I had an intern two summers ago who overcame some serious hurdles, including coming from a third-world country, stayed 1-1/2 months in my lab and did enough work to have two publications come out of it -- and not having immediate and free access to all articles is not a limiting factor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        (posting from my phone)

        In my field I have published over 2,000 articles over the years - over 100 in peer reviewed journals.

        The model needs to change.

        Most of these research papers are funded by public research dollars.

        Those research dollars paid by publication fees to the publishers (yes, we have to PAY THEM to publish our papers).

        Others do the peer review for FREE (I know I have never been paid to do a peer review - and I have done many)

        The publishing houses get the publication fee (which can be substantia

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What an incredibly stupid viewpoint!

        "Boo-hoo"?! Wow, dude...

        Instant online access to all academic papers would *obviously* accelerate advances in all fields of research. Any expense or inconvenience simply introduces pointless waste in the process.

        Also, having all papers freely available online would allow automated searches and inferences to be made. For example, consider the story of the former Reddit co-owner -- now only 20 year old -- who was arrested for "excessive JSTOR downloads". With access to

      • by smallfries (601545) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @04:22AM (#37500250) Homepage

        Not every field operates the same way. Perhaps you only need to access other papers "on occasion". In my field I need to check 50-100 papers during the research that goes into every one that I write. Why is it reasonable for me to be charged $500-2000 by publishers to access research that they did not create? Not all publishers allow private copies of papers to be hosted on a researcher's website. I trust that your field is not dominated by the IEEE and ACM?

        Free access does not imply lack of review. Your point about journals providing filtering is flawed - just look at any of the newer open access journals in CS that do provide filtering by reviewing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, modern science is expensive. But that cost does not come out of the journal publishers' pockets. It is funded by taxpayers and private investors. Furthermore, the editors and reviewers of the journals are scientists in the filed. They don't get any monetary compensation for their work. So journals have a crazy sweet business model: they get copyrights to a product that was completely created without any cost to them and then they get to sell it back to the community who created the product.

        Publishers a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your reasons are completely understandable, but as a hobby programmer I can't afford a pile of papers every evening when I don't even know if the contents has any practical usage or is relevant for what I need (abstracts are very vague on practical implementations). Looking for papers on Google very often dead-ends on a paywall. If your PDF paper is not directly linked form relevant Wikipedia pages, I'm not even going to waste time looking for it.
        This could very well result in me inventing something very si

    • We need a different economic model to pay for the service of editing and coordinating peer review. Maybe that cost ought to be covered by a journal submission fee. Hardcopy publication is now officially not needed, nor should we be paying hardcopy publishing companies just for the right to view the online published information. That's rubbish, and it's harmful to the progress of knowledge.

      The different model is that academics do this as part of their commitment to service. What's in it for them is that, since reputation is the coin of the academic realm, by serving on editorial boards their own status as an expert is promoted. There are already plenty of journals that work this way. Hard copy is oldthink, let those few readers who want to kill trees to read a journal use print on demand.

  • If your school/department is at least somewhat organized, they will already have guidelines stipulated on the format of the thesis document, and these guidelines would include a pre-defined copyright notice that you must include. That's been my experience at two different Universities, and as far as I am aware, it's not an option to swap in my own copyright notice.

    All it really does is ensure that the University owns full rights to republish the work - but so do I.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:16PM (#37498656) Homepage

    I am wrapping up an MS. In the past I have had problems getting copies of others' work, due to lack of copyright notices on their thesis or dissertation. I don't want that happen to me.

    Post a digital copy online. Problem solved. As long as a digital copy is available for free online, others will have access to it, regardless of its copyright status. If you're in a field like physics, you could post it on arxiv.org. If you're in a field that doesn't have anything like arxiv, just post it on your own site, or on a site such as scribd.

    • Yep, exactly what parent says. I don't see any problem (what more, I have not encountered problems) with just reserving all rights for yourself (copyright by you, as is (should be) possible with any respectable university), and then distributing it yourself, over the internet. Free and open access, and nobody can legally run off with it or put it on shady websites.
  • by yar (170650)

    What country are you in? Copyright law is going to be different in different places, at least a bit.

    What university are you at? Some universities require students' to turn over copyright in their work (although many don't). Some universities also have requirements or restrictions on how you may license the work- the most common one I've seen recently is requiring students to allow the library to provide an electronic version.

    Assuming US law, part of your statement is redundant; someone else can't legally cl

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:29PM (#37498730) Journal
    Best copyright notice I know of came from Woody Guthrie [wikipedia.org]:

    “This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

  • by RedLeg (22564) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:32PM (#37498748) Journal

    Warning: --Flammable Objects ahead!--

    You're polishing your thesis, the crown jewel of a Masters of Science degree, and you can't figure this one out on your own?

    Worse, you ask HERE!?!

    Hint: Perhaps you should harness some of the experience in researching that you've piled into the past 5-7 years of academia, along with INSIDER ACCESS to academia to get an answer and recommendation worthy of consideration. Does your university have a law school? Go find a member of the legal faculty with some modern clue in the field of intellectual property.

    On the other hand, you could rely on the 2^n monkeys on the Internet banging random crapola into keyboards to eventually come up with the "right answer".

    Oh, wait......

    ( Sheesh.... )

    Red

  • I don't normally care about the copyright if it's a document on the web, because I can just point people at the original.

    But I do care about when something was written.

    It is mind-boggling how many academic papers out there that don't have a damn date on them.

    C'mon people -- if you want to help out the knowledge of the world, you're not being serious if you can't help us put it in a timeline.

  • If you've got a web site and you can download your thesis from there, then it doesn't matter the terms because you haven't transferred exclusive electronic distribution rights to your University or a third party. Then, just to be sure, copy it to a preprint server that doesn't allow revocation of distribution rights. for example arXiv, or the equivalent in your field. At that point you've at least guaranteed distribution rights.
  • Public domain protects anyone else from copyrighting it, but of course doesn't prevent anyone else from copying it. Claiming it as their own and trying to enforce copyright would be fraud, but someone might possibly try it. Public domain will not prevent anyone from removing attribution to you, or prevent anyone from doing anything else with the content except possibly prevent them from (successfully) claiming it as their own (if you or someone else challenges them).

    A license like a Creative Commons one cou

  • Grant "Usage Rights".

    I'd go with the Creative Commons language, posted earlier. It will do what you want and has been examined by lawyers.

  • Do what everyone else does with preprint papers in your field. I don't know what people do with preprints in your field, but a MS thesis isn't peer reviewed in the way papers are, so it fits nicely in the preprint category assuming you've actually done at least a tiny amount of work that qualifies as original research. Ask what researchers do with preprints in your field and then do that. Even better, ask your adviser what you should do with your MS thesis. If you are going to to publish papers with your ma
  • After submission of your work, you can just put it on a web site or even better put in an open access platform either of your university or if it does not have such platform in one of the public OA platforms. However, it depends on the country in their you live if you can do so. I have heard that in the US the publications are property of the university (that might be wrong). In Germany the work is your and so you can do with it what you want.

    So first make sure that you own the work. Then check out Creative

  • Compatible with your Universities requirements at least. Dont publish it before you hand it in.

  • Before proceeding, Please check you are the copyright owner. IANAL and IIRC, by default these papers' copyright goes to the school , not the student.

  • The OP mentioned that getting copies of dissertations is difficult. Let me provide some more background on the problem.

    First, the copyright is not the issue so much as the language concerning copying and distribution of the dissertation.University libraries almost always have copies of dissertations (theses are different), but the lack of clear language or law regarding copies makes them extremely reluctant to copy them.

    Even if they will make arrangements for duplication there are often other hurdles. Most

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