Summary: PQ/UMI® Guide F2009
Guide 5: Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis
"Copyright is one of the most confounding and misunderstood laws affecting colleges and universities."
Kenneth D. Crews, Indiana University, wrote these words in 1992 in the preface to his book on copyright law
for graduate research and repeated them in the first line of the 2002 edition of Copyright Law & Graduate
Research: New Media, New Rights, and Your New Dissertation (© Copyright 2000, ProQuest).
In terms of your dissertation or thesis and copyright, there are two considerations: how to avoid
infringing on someone else's copyright, and how to protect your own copyright. Outside of becoming an
expert yourself, the best way to handle these to necessities is to read and refer often to Crews guide, which
he wrote with the cooperation and support of ProQuest and the Council of Graduate Schools. Dr. Crews is a
Professor at Indiana University, in the School of Law-Indianapolis, and the School of Library and Information
Science, and serves as Associate Dean of the Faculties for Copyright Management. Crews' guidance is far
superior to any advice we can offer here. You can view and/or download a free copy of the book at
We have excerpted a few of the most general guidelines from Crew's book to help you determine
when and how to seek further guidance in addressing copyright issues.
Avoiding Copyright Infringement in Your Dissertation or Thesis
Copyright law protects "original works of authorship" that are "fixed in any tangible medium of
expression." Legal use, without permission, of copyrighted work is limited to "fair use" of the work.