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Which items of third party copyright do I need to seek permission to include in my hardbound thesis?

In copyright terms your hardbound thesis is an unpublished work upon deposit in the University Library.

If it stays unpublished, and you have included extracts of others’ copyright works, say brief quotations, your use of the third party extract may be covered by the statutory exception of ‘fair dealing for the purpose of illustration for instruction’, including for examination purposes (s. 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)). This is because your hardbound thesis is considered an examination script, i.e. an answer to an exam question.

The ‘fair dealing for the purpose of illustration for instruction’ exception applies to those extracts, excerpts or quotations from works included in a dissertation for examination and deposit in unpublished form in the University Library, but not its publication after examination, in hard copy or online, including in an online repository such as the Apollo Repository.  In other words, the exception applies to the use of short extracts of others’ works in a dissertation that is to be examined but not to subsequent publication of that dissertation, including online.

The statutory exception of ‘illustration for instruction’ is a ‘fair dealing’ exception, which means:

  • you may copy only what is reasonably required, i.e. include a portion of another’s work that is necessary for the immediate purpose of illustrating a point in your paper, and
  • your use of another’s work must not impact adversely on exploitation of the work by its owner, e.g. material made available under the illustration for instruction exception must not be made available online in the Apollo Repository, or on another website such as a Faculty or Departmental website, in social media etc.; images such as photographs of works of art may be used as long as the purpose is for illustration for instruction and the images are provided in low-resolution; and
  • author and publication details of the source work must be acknowledged unless to do so is impractical.

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