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Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Submission

Copyright FAQs

Who owns the copyright to my thesis/dissertation?

As noted in the Thesis Acknowledgment form, any copyrights associated with the thesis remain with the author or other copyright holder. As a condition of being awarded the degree, however, the student grants the university a royalty-free non-exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the thesis, in whole or in part and in any format.

Who owns the intellectual property in my thesis/disseration?

As per Policy No. 2517, Intellectual Property Policy for Students, of the Student Handbook:

Intellectual property developed by students is owned by Florida Tech if the students were employees and paid by internal or external funds at the time of discovery, and the discovery was made within the normal scope of their employment.

In addition, intellectual property developed by students is owned by Florida Tech if the student inventor made substantial use of university facilities to make the discovery. Substantial use of university facilities means extensive non-reimbursed use of either university laboratories and/or computational facilities or human resources. The use of these facilities must be important to the creation of the intellectual property and does not include incidental use of facilities or extensive use of a facility commonly available to all students (such as libraries and offices) or any facility used by students for routine tasks.

The student inventor will be treated by Florida Tech as an inventor as described in faculty policy and the Faculty Handbook.

Will adding my thesis to the Scholarship Repository limit my ability to subsequently publish my research?

A research paper from the July 2013 issue of College & Research Libraries (Ramirez, Dalton, McMillan, et al) cited various studies indicating that instances of publishers rejecting scholarly papers in the areas of science and technology on the basis of pre-existing on-line theses are very rare.  The same paper found that, in the area of the humanities, a clear majority of journal editors and a majority of university press directors did not automatically dismiss papers derived from on-line theses.  If you are concerned your contributing your thesis to Florida Tech's Scholarship Repository will jeopardize future opportunities to publish your work, you may wish to consult with your thesis advisors or librarians regarding the policies of journals in your field of study.

How do I know whether the material I'm using is protected by someone else's copyright?

Did you create the material? If not, you will need to identify the owner of the work's copyright and determine whether the work's copyright protection has expired. You may find the following publication of the U.S. Copyright Office helpful: "How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work." (PDF)

What if I created the material? Is it possible that I no longer own the copyright to my own work?

Yes. If your work has been published, you may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. Check your publishing agreement: if the publisher owns the copyright to your work, you will need to request permission to reprint it in your thesis and elsewhere.

Is there a way for me to retain my copyright when I submit an article for publication?

You may be able to negotiate which rights you transfer to a publisher before you sign a publishing agreement. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has developed an author addendum that students may find useful in negotiating the rights that they transfer.

Where can I learn more about copyright?

A good place to start is the Copyright Research Guide.