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Copyright Information for Thesis and Dissertation Publication: Material Commonly Used in Theses & Dissertations

This guide provides information to help students comply with Canadian copyright law when publishing their thesis or dissertation


Figures, diagrams, and drawings are considered to be “whole works”, and they are protected by copyright. Redrawing or adapting a figure will also require copyright permission. If you are using a figure from an academic source such as a journal or book you may be able to obtain copyright permission at If you can't find the original source there, try contacting the publisher for copyright permission before contacting the author.

Adaptated Figures

You may end up changing a figure significantly to suit your needs. This is considered an adaptation, and you must give a proper citation for adapted work. It is Royal Roads policy that you must obtain copyright permission to use adapted figures, no matter how different they are from the original.

You should only adapt a figure if it is necessary to do so; redrawing a figure without adding your own ideas is not advised. It is often easier to obtain copyright permission to use an original figure rather than an adaptation.


If you create a map using a cartography program you will not need permission to publish it in your thesis, however if you adapt or use a map that someone else created it will require copyright permission. If you purchase a map or aerial photograph for your thesis make sure that the purchase agreement is for commercial use of the image. Maps that belong to your sponsoring organization still require copyright permission.

Maps from Google Maps and Google Earth do not require copyright permission as long as you obey their stipulations regarding attribution and use. You should carefully review their copyright website if you are considering using their maps in your thesis
Visit, and read the information under "Using Maps in Print".

Your Map must include Google’s copyright attribution from the map you are using. Please make sure you read and understand the stipulations outlined on Google's attribution page:

New York

The Map Data information must be legible in the image, or included in the figure description.


Facts are not protected by copyright, however presenting facts in a new or unique way may be. For example, a table presenting statistical data on the Montreal population is not protected, but a table presenting this data in a specific way may be. You will need to carefully consider the content of a table when determining if you require copyright permission to reprint it. Feel free to contact the copyright office if you have questions.


Any photographs that you did not take yourself will require copyright permission, and you should not include photographs of human research participants. We also recommend blurring the faces of people who appear in your photographs, unless they have given you permission to take their picture for your thesis.

Images and photographs found through Google Images or on websites such as are not necessarily ok to use without permission. You will need to determine who owns the copyright to the images you wish to use, and if they haven’t indicated that it’s ok to use them for commercial use, you will need copyright permission to publish them in your thesis. Most of these sites allow you to search specifically for images that have been released for commercial reuse.

If you are using Aerial Photographs that belong to your sponsoring organization, you will need to get copyright permission to use them. If you purchase Aerial photographs, make sure you are able to publish them commercially before purchase.

The UBC copyright website maintains a list of websites and resources where you can search for images that are public domain or released under creative commons licences. Visit their website here:


You will need to obtain copyright permission to publish logos in your thesis. You may want to consider removing logos from your manuscript if they aren't necessary .

You may use the RRU logo in your thesis without obtaining copyright permission.