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Copyright Information for Thesis and Dissertation Publication (Canada): Obtaining Copyright Permission

Check to see if the title is covered by our CCC academic license

Before embarking on a mission to seek permission for using copyright protected materials, check to see if our Copyright Clearance Center license covers that title. Adler University purchases an annual license with the the Copyright Clearance Center which allows faculty, staff and students to use materials without worrying about infringing on copyright.

The document below will show you the steps to take at RightFind Academic to verify coverage.

Identifying the copyright owner

Seeking permission is a straightforward process, but obtaining responses from copyright owners can take a long time. You are strongly encouraged to send out your permission requests as early as possible.

The first step in the process is to identify the copyright owner. Usually you will be able to identify the owner somewhere on the work by looking for the copyright symbol ©, which should have the copyright owner’s name next to it. You’ll often find this at the beginning of a book, at the side of a photograph or at the bottom of a web page. Your options include seeking permissions from individuals, commercial publishers or journals.

What should I include in my permission request?

Include the following information in your requests.

Introduce yourself clearly.

Tell the copyright owner that you are a graduate student preparing a thesis for submission as part of the requirements for your degree at Adler University.

Identify the work you are seeking permission to use.

Give standard reference information for the work you wish to use, including figure/table number, if any, and page numbers. You should briefly describe the context in which you propose to use the work in your thesis.

Tell the copyright owner where their work will be distributed.

  • that your thesis will be publicly available in ProQuest 

You, of course, will not know at the time you are asking permission, whether your thesis will be published in an academic journal. If you believe that it is a realistic possibility, you may wish to ask the copyright owner’s permission to use their work in the published version of your thesis.

Ask for specific action.

  • Request a reply by a given date.
  • Offer to send the copyright owner a copy of your completed work.

Keep copies.

  • Keep copies of request letters and all correspondence with the copyright owner.

Unable to get permission?

When you are unable to obtain permission or there is a charge for obtaining permission, you must either:

  • remove the copyrighted material and insert the text described below; or
  • replace the material with a different work for which permission is either obtainable or not required (such as works that are covered by Creative Commons licenses or that are in the public domain).

If you have removed copyrighted material from your thesis and not replaced it, you must insert the following:

  • A statement that the material has been removed because of copyright restrictions
  • A description of the material and the information it contained, plus a link to an online source if one is available
  • A full citation of the original source of the material

Example: Figure 3 has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was a diagram of the apparatus used in performing the experiment, showing the changes made by the investigating team. Original source: Wu, G. and Thompson, J.R. (2008). Effect of Ketone Bodies on Dairy Cattle. Biochemistry Journal, 255(2), 139-144.

The brief description of the removed figure is important, as it gives the reader a chance to follow the thesis argument without needing to look up the actual figures. If possible, including a link to an online source is also very useful.

Important: Your thesis must be as complete as possible. Removal of material is only acceptable if you are denied permission, if an unreasonable fee will be charged for use of the material, or if you receive no response from the copyright owner after making a reasonable effort at contact.

Permission from individuals

If the copyright owner is an individual, then the next step is to email or write to him/her, explaining how and why you want to use the work and requesting permission. The permission should be in writing; an email message will suffice. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of:

  • who gave the permission,
  • what was permitted,
  • the date, and
  • how to contact the person who gave the permission. (For more information on what to include in your permission request, see the "What Should I Include in My Permission Request?" box)

Permission from commercial publishers

If the copyright owner is a commercial publisher, the fastest course of action is often to search for the work in question at the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). The CCC handles permissions for a large number of publishers, and permission to include images in theses can often be obtained through the CCC website swiftly and at no cost.

If you cannot obtain permission through the CCC, then the next step is to check the publisher’s website. Many publishers will require that you submit your request directly to their permissions department, while others will require that you use an online form.

When you arrive at the website, look for a link that says "Rights and Permissions" (or something similar), then read through the available information to determine the correct method for requesting permission.

Permission from journals

If the copyright owner is an academic journal (or an academic association/society that publishes a journal), then you may be able to obtain permission through the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), as discussed above. If permission is not available through the CCC, then you should check the journal’s website, which may provide one or more of the following:

  • Advance permission for specific uses. For example, The Journal of Biological Chemistry provides advance permission for non-commercial use.
  • Advance permission to journal authors who have signed over copyright
  • Information on how to request permission
  • Information on uses that are specifically prohibited

If you can’t locate any information about copyright and permissions on the journal’s website, then visit the website of the company or organization that publishes the journal.

If permission to use copyrighted material is given on a website, then print out or save an electronic copy of the web page that states this and keep it for your records. Note, saving a link to the page is not sufficient, as the link may break or the content of the website may change.

Credits and CC Licensing

This guide has been used and adapted with permission from Royal University Copyright Information Guide by Kimberley Budd and from UBC's Theses and Dissertations(CC BY-SA 4.0) license

Guide is licensed under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.