As a graduate student at Missouri S&T, you will be involved in publishing your thesis, dissertation, journal articles, or other publications. It is important that you begin to think about your own intellectual property, and how best to facilitate sharing of your own work.
As a scholar you will encounter the paradox of accessing the work of others, while utilizing copyright to protect you own intellectual property. This guide is intended to serves as a resource guide toward a fuller understanding of your rights and responsibilities.
Copyright law in the United States is based on the British Statute of Anne of 1710. The U. S. Constitution states:
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." (U.S. Constitution, art. I, § 8, cl. 8)
Let’s explore the clause:
Copyright is is not one right, but a collection or bundle of rights. These rights are described in section 106 of U.S. copyright law. The most relevant to you as an author include the rights to:
According to the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations section 100.030 Copyright Regulations sub-section 5:
Without limiting the language of the foregoing general rule or the language of the foregoing exceptions to the general rule, the following are examples of fact situations in which the University will not claim ownership of copyrightable work made by a student of the University:
Sub-section 2 stipulates:
The University will own the copyright in materials that are:
If you are an employee of the university and conducting research, or your research is sponsored by an internal or external grant you may not own copyright the thesis/dissertation generated for your research activities. In these circumstances a contract stipulating this should exist. You should discuss this with your advisor.
No, there is no need to formally register your work. Your work was afforded copyright protection the moment it was created. The benefit of registering the copyright of a work is that in the event your copyright is infringed, you would able to sue for punitive damages as well as actual damages; if you do not register your copyright you can collect only actual damages.
To use the work of others such as reproduced images or charts, music, long quotations, standard tests or computer software etc., you should determine whether simple attribution is sufficient, or if your intended use requires you to seek permission of the copyright holder. Crediting the source does not eliminate your obligation to seek permission. Sources must always be credited to avoid plagiarism.
You do not need to seek permission when:
Just as you as a copyholder have certain rights, users are also granted rights in the form of fair use. Fair use is intendeds to encourage creative work and support research by placing limitations on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Fair use is described in section 107 of the Copyright Act which states that for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, some activities do not infringe on copyright. Academic freedom and free speech depend upon the informed and active assertion of the fair use doctrine.
To determine whether you are within fair use, the law calls for a balanced application of four factors. The following identifies and explains the significance of the factors as they relate to many university needs.
Courts also favor uses that are “transformative,” or that are not merely reproductions. Fair use is more likely to be found when the copyrighted work is “transformed” into something new or of new utility or meaning, such as quotations incorporated into a paper, or perhaps pieces of a work mixed into a multimedia product for your own teaching needs or included in commentary or criticism of the original.
You will never be entirely certain, but you can make a sound, good-faith decision by carefully evaluating and balancing the four factors. The following tools will help you assess the four factors:
You should also save a copy of the evaluation process that documents your good-faith decision making process, this will serve as a hedge against liability. If your analysis leads you to believe your intended use falls outside the realm of Fair Use, you need to seek permission. Al ways remember, if you ask for permission and are told no you not use fair use as an argument for your use of the work.
The publication option is available in some academic programs at Missouri S&T. The publication option is allowed when at least one or more sections of the thesis/dissertation is prepared with the objective of publication in a manner consistent with the peer-reviewed process within the discipline.
The section portion of each thesis/dissertation should include an introduction, a conclusion, and if applicable, references, which are separate from the content of the product prepared with the objective of publication. In the event that any product prepared with the objective of publication is retracted, the section portion of each thesis/dissertation should be able to stand alone as give the reader an overview of the student's research.
With the publication option you are allowed by your academic program to include:
The publication option is problematic as it related to copyright law as you may not have the right to include an article you previously authored in your theses/dissertation. If you plan on using the publication option you should schedule a consultation with the library in order to determine your copyright status.