Why Should I Copyright My Thesis?

By Grygor Scott

Copyright protection of your thesis exists once you've written it -- you don't necessarily need to do anything more. The copyright for your thesis will last for the length of your life plus 70 years. Determining whether you should take the additional step of registering your thesis’s copyright depends on several factors.

Copyright protection of your thesis exists once you've written it -- you don't necessarily need to do anything more. The copyright for your thesis will last for the length of your life plus 70 years. Determining whether you should take the additional step of registering your thesis’s copyright depends on several factors.

Copyright Basics

Copyright is an intellectual property right that gives you the exclusive right to make, sell and distribute copies of your thesis and to create new works based on it. If someone uses the material in your thesis without your consent, you may sue the person to stop the infringement. You may also receive compensation for any losses that you incurred as a result of the infringement.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Copyright Notice

U.S. copyright law does not require authors to provide copyright notices in their works. However, displaying a copyright notice in your thesis will alert readers that your work is copyrighted. In general, a copyright notice helps deter infringement. It also clearly shows who owns the copyright and provides the year in which the work was copyrighted.

Copyright Registration

Although your thesis will have copyright protection once it exists in a fixed, tangible form, registering your copyright will provide additional benefits. Registering the copyright within three months of your thesis’s publication -- or before any infringing act occurs -- makes it much easier to stop an infringing act and to recover money from an infringer. Copyright registration creates a legal presumption that your copyright is valid. It also allows you to recover up to $150,000 in damages without having to prove any actual monetary harm. The U.S. Copyright Office charges a $35 fee for processing an electronic copyright registration and a $50 fee for processing a paper copyright registration.

Decision

Whether copyrighting your thesis is worth the time, effort and cost depends on your specific circumstances. Factors to weigh in making this decision include the nature of your thesis, the likelihood and relative impact of an infringement, and your personal finances. If you’re worried about infringement or plan to publish the thesis as a monograph or e-book, it may be worthwhile to register the copyright.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
Is Copyrighting Really Necessary?

References

Related articles

How to Copyright Choreography

A copyright affords protection to creators and owners of unique intellectual property that is fixed in some permanent, tangible form such as a written notation, book, video, sound recording, or drawing. To be eligible for copyright protection, your choreography must be original. Under U.S. copyright law, as soon as an original work of authorship, such as choreography, has been created in fixed form, then copyright protection exists from that time. This gives the author or his agent to rightfully claim copyright. However, it is much better to register the copyright, because it creates a public notice that you own the rights and enables you to sue in federal court if someone uses your choreography without your permission. It is important to note that choreography that has not been made into a fixed form is not eligible for copyright protection.

Copyright Laws for Authors and Artists

Copyright law creates ownership rights for works of authorship, including literature and visual arts. In the United States, copyright law is governed by federal law and is enforced by federal courts.

Copyrights for Artwork

Copyright is usually associated with text and music, but it also covers most works of art — even sculpture. As long as the work is "fixed," which means it is in a tangible form, copyright rules apply. It is important for artists to be aware of these rules in order to protect themselves and their art.

Related articles

Copyright Law Policies

Copyright protects an author’s original literary, artistic, and other intellectual work. Either individuals or ...

What Are the Benefits of Filing With the U.S. Copyright Office?

As soon as you create an original work of authorship and put it into tangible form, it is protected under common law ...

Copyright Registration Advantages & Disadvantages

Copyright protection ensures that creators of original works can profit from their creations, by protecting them ...

Copyright Issues With Adapting a Short Story

If you like a short story, you might be able to adapt it another medium, such as a movie, TV show or musical. However, ...

Browse by category