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Copyright Information for Thesis and Dissertation Publication: Obtaining Copyright Permission

Information to help students comply with Canadian copyright law when publishing their thesis or dissertation

Royal Roads University Copyright Letter

When you are asking for permission to use material in your thesis or dissertation, the wording you use is very important. The person granting permission needs to be fully informed of how the material will be used and distributed. To ensure that you don't need to ask for permission more than once, please use the RRU permission letter. Simply asking for permission to use material in your thesis or dissertation without providing all of the details out lined in the permission letter is not sufficient copyright permission.

Permission needs to be 'in writing' - that is, it can't be a verbal agreement.  Permission via email is acceptable, as long as you include the RRU copyright letter as an attachment, and the person granting permission states that they agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the letter. They should also include their contact information or signature block.

Other Ways to Obtain Permission

Many organizations, including the Canadian Government, receive a large number of copyright requests have their own copyright submission process, such as an online request form. As long as you are careful to apply for the correct copyright permission and provide all of the details from the RRU permission letter, you do not need to use the RRU permission letter itself.

Read the RRU permission letter carefully before filling out any permission applications, and keep the following details in mind:

  • Copies of your thesis or dissertation may be sold, so you must obtain a commercial license.
  • Your thesis or dissertation may be translated into other languages.
  • Your thesis or dissertation may be distributed in print and electronic formats.

Many journals and publishers use to manage their copyright permissions. If you are using material that has been published in a journal or book, check there to see if you can obtain permission online.  Please be careful to read the 'thesis or dissertation' options, as many of these do not allow commercial publication or posting online.

Who to Contact for Permission

  • Check the organization’s webpage- at the bottom there is often a link to a copyright or terms of use page with more information
  • Journals and publishing houses often have the authority to grant copyright permission- try starting with them rather than with the author of the paper or book. These permissions are often managed through  Please be careful to read the 'thesis or dissertation' options, as many of these do not allow commercial publication or posting online.
  • For businesses, someone with signing authority for the company should be able to grant permission. Try starting with the marketing department.

When Permission Cannot be Obtained

If copyright permission cannot be obtained it is possible to proceed with publication by removing the copyrighted material from your thesis or dissertation. The accepted format for this is to remove the figure from your thesis or dissertation, leaving a blank space where it was. In this space the following information is inserted:

  • a statement stating that the material has been removed because of copyright restrictions
  • a description of the material that has been removed
  • a full citation of the original material