Copyright and your thesis
During your candidature, Copyright and the use of third party content will affect your work in two distinct ways – firstly and most importantly, in the publishing of your work on the Research Repository and secondly in the way you use material in your research.
If you need specialised advice regarding Copyright and your thesis, contact the Copyright Coordinator.
Using third party works in your thesis
You need permission to use any third party content (anything you did not create yourself, see I'm a Murdoch student. Why is Copyright important to me?) in your thesis.
It is University policy that a copy of your thesis will be made publicly available on the Research Repository. This may raise complex copyright issues when using third party works because, in almost all cases, redistributing third party works online requires permission from the copyright owner (usually the publisher). This includes long quotes. The rule of thumb for a ‘fair’ portion for quotes where you do not need permission from the copyright holder is no more than three sentences.
If you need request permission using a letter, a template is available:
When you get permission, keep a record of it as proof. If you can not get permission, contact the University Copyright Coordinator.
As part of your thesis submission, you must also sign a declaration to the University saying that you have permission for any third party material you have used. From the start of your candidature, be aware that you should get permission from the copyright owner to include a third party work, or part of it, in your thesis.
For images, see if you can find a more Copyright friendly content that does not require specific permission, but is already licenced under a Creative Commons licence.
Using third party works in the research process
In broad terms, the most important elements of Copyright legislation that are relevant to you during your candidature are the Fair Dealing provisions at SS.40 and 41 and their Reasonable Portions.
The ‘reasonable portion’ of a work that you can copy for your own research consists of:
- 1 chapter or 10% of a monograph,
- 1 article from any one issue of a journal (more, if the subsequent articles are required for the same research as the first),
- up to 15 pages from an anthology.
It is also considered ‘reasonable’ to reproduce ‘artistic works’ (including maps, diagrams, graphs, etc.) that accompany and illustrate/explain a text being copied under Fair Dealing.
You may copy more than a ‘reasonable portion’ for research & study if:
The information and advice given in these pages is for general use: it is not legal opinion.