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Theses: Copyright: seeking permission

This guide is intended to provide advice to PGR students on their eThesis

Asking permissions

There may be times when you need to think about asking the copyright holder for permission to use their work in your thesis.

Scenarios like this are because you cannot use the exception, non-commercial research or private study because your use is not Fair dealing. Examples of this can include: 

  • If you use more than a reasonable amount of someone else’s work in your thesis you may need to ask for permission.
  • If you are using a whole work that belongs to someone else you should seek permission. This could mean you are using an image, a photograph, a poem or a map, it doesn’t have to mean an entire article; these standalone items are considered to be whole works.

You need to determine whether you’ve used someone else’s work beyond the permitted exceptions and need to seek permission. this is a personal responsibility. 

How to ask for permission

How do I ask permission?

To request permission you need to identify the copyright owner. It may be the author, a publisher or a photographer. Many publishers will give information on their website about who to contact for permission. Look out for words such as rights/ permissions/ copyright clearance.

In your correspondence, remember to include who you are, your institution, the item you are seeking permission to use and why (your thesis).

It’s vitally important that you receive permission in writing; verbal permission will not suffice. Remember to keep copies of the replies you receive.

**Ideally, you should do this while writing your thesis rather than waiting until the end***



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Permission declined/unobtainable

What happens if I can't get permission to use the third party copyright material in my thesis? 

If the student is unable to obtain permission for the use of substantial copyright material, then we can apply an indefinite moratorium on the thesis.

Where a student is unable to obtain permission for the use of a limited range of copyright material, then the electronic copy of the thesis can be submitted in two versions: a full version with a moratorium on publication and a second version without the third-party copyright material (maintaining the original pagination) which will be placed on the Research Repository. Please contact Rebecca Clarke, Open Research Librarian, for any queries relating to third-party copyright and how it can be managed within your thesis submission.