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Scholarly Communication


Who owns the copyright in your thesis?

In most cases the ownership of copyright in your thesis rests with you, the author. Copyright protection comes into effect automatically at the creation and noting down of a work. Although there is no requirement to register copyright in your dissertation to protect it, it is advisable to have your dissertation prominently carry a standard copyright notice, e.g. Copyright © 2018 Author.


In the following exceptions, copyright in the thesis could be owned by someone other than the author:

(a)  Where a student is sponsored by a third party, a condition of sponsorship may be that the sponsor may own any intellectual property developed during the period of sponsorship. Sponsored students are, therefore, advised to check the terms of their sponsorship agreement.

(b)  Where a student is working on a sponsored project as part of his or her coursework or research, the sponsor may own any intellectual property that the student develops. This will be specified in the research contract and the supervisor or Department should inform students if this is the case as early as possible in the admissions process and in any case prior to the start of their research.

(c) Where a student is working in collaboration with others in a manner that gives rise to joint creation of intellectual property, or interdependent intellectual property, the student may be required to assign intellectual property to the University or place the results in the public domain without restriction. He or she will be treated in the same way as University staff under these regulations. If this case is likely to arise, students should be so informed at the offer of admission where practical, and in any case prior to the start of their research.


Further information on the Univesity's policy regarding intellectual property rights can be found in the Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge, CHAPTER XIII.


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