Canada Dissertations

For Students

About Copyright

Copyrighted Material in Theses

Students should ensure that that the use of copyrighted material from other sources in their theses meets the requirements of the Copyright Act. Some written permissions from copyright holder(s) may be required.

The copyright clearance process may take quite some time especially if some of the copyrighted material is older, if the copyrighted source is out of the country and/or there is a need to contact multiple sources. Theses Canada strongly recommends that authors contact the copyrighted source(s) early in their thesis preparation.

Students may have already published a portion of their theses, for example as a journal article or part of a book. If they have assigned the copyrights to their publishers they need to obtain written permission to include it in their theses. They should inform their publishers about the Theses Non-Exclusive License they have signed with Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

If they have written their theses with co-authors, the co-authors must sign separate licenses.

If theses include material (e.g. a chapter, an article) that has been co-written with another author(s), students need permission from the author(s) before submitting it to LAC for publication. Students should inform the co-author(s) that they have signed a Theses Non-Exclusive License that authorizes LAC to reproduce, communicate to the public on the Internet, loan, distribute or sell copies of their theses, etc.

For theses submitted to LAC via ProQuest the university should submit written permission letters, if required, along with the theses. It is not necessary to send them to LAC for electronic theses that are not being submitted through ProQuest.

Intellectual Property, Copyright and Moral Rights

The difference between intellectual property, copyright and moral rights can be confusing.

Intellectual property is a general name for property which is the product of invention or creativity, and which does not exist in a tangible, physical form. It includes copyrights, patents, industrial designs, trade-marks and integrated circuit topographies.

Copyright constitutes one form of intellectual property. It applies to original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Copyright infringement is the unauthorized copying or use of a work. Theses authors submitting to LAC own the copyright on their theses.

Moral rights are the rights an author retains over the integrity of a work, the right to be associated with the work, as its author by name or under a pseudonym, and the right to remain anonymous even after the sale or transfer of the copyright.

Further Information

About Electronic Theses


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has been acquiring electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) since 2003. LAC acquires ETDs in two ways.

  • Using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to ingest directly from universities with electronic submission programs. For the basic steps on how to establish an ETD submission program see How to Set Up an ETD Submission Program
  • From ProQuest, the company to which Canadian universities send paper or electronic theses to be processed for LAC.

Theses Canada encourages all universities to participate in its harvesting program. Universities and theses authors benefit from immediate access to their ETDs on the Theses Canada Portal by scholars and researchers around the world, at the same time contributing to the development of the theses collection at LAC.

Metadata for Canadian theses is harvested from LAC by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) Union Catalog. []

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