Loughborough Doctoral College

Essential information

Third party copyright material in your thesis

  1. You must acknowledge and cite any third party copyright material that you reuse in your thesis.
  2. You may reuse any third party copyright material which is not a ‘substantial’ part of a work without permission from the copyright-owner: but note that ‘substantial’ is not defined in English law, and may be interpreted qualitatively as well as quantitatively.
  3. You may also reuse a ‘substantial’ part of a work without permission from the copyright-owner, but only on certain conditions.  Section 32 of the Copyright Design and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988allows you to reuse material for the purpose of “illustration for instruction”; this includes examinations, and examinations in turn are taken to include examined doctoral theses.  The law says that you must ‘deal fairly’ with material when you reuse it for this purpose which requires a certain amount of judgement on your part.  However, to help qualify for fair dealing you must satisfy the following criteria:
    • ensure the work is used for non-commercial purposes;
    • provide sufficient acknowledgement, unless it is impractical to do so;
    • ensure the use of the work does not compete with the normal exploitation of it by the rights holder;
    • ensure that the use of the work is not excessive (e.g. copying the whole work when only an extract is required)
  4.  If and when you pass your examination, you will be required to deposit an electronic version of your thesis (an e-thesis) in the Research Repository, which will incorporate any amendments or corrections that your examiners have stipulated.  This version will be made freely available on the internet (by means of a CC BY-NC-ND licence).  In order to reuse third party copyright material in your e-thesis, it may be possible for you to rely on Section 30 of the CDPA 1988.  This allows you to reuse material for the purpose of “criticism or review”, again provided that you ‘deal fairly’ with the material.  Again, you must judge for yourself what the copyright-owner is likely to regard as ‘fair’ in this context and satisfy the criteria outlined above in section 3.
  5. Note that what is ‘fair’ for your printed thesis may or may not be ‘fair’ for your e-thesis.  There are two reasons for this:
    1. in your printed thesis you are only copying material, whereas in your e-thesis you are both copying it and communicating it to the public by means of the internet;
    2. in your printed thesis you are reusing the material for “illustration for instruction”, whereas in your e-thesis you are reusing it for “criticism or review”.
      The ‘fairness’ or otherwise of how you reuse material is judged according to what you do with the material and why.
  6. If you wish to reuse material in a way which is not covered by Sections 30 or 32 of the CDPA 1988, you must get permission from the copyright owner.  You may well need permission to reuse the following:
    • long quotations;
    • tables;
    • figures, such as diagrams, graphs and charts;
    • photographs;
    • maps;
    • artistic works, such as paintings and sketches;
    • printed music;
    • audio or video recordings.
  7. If you have already published part of your thesis (e.g. in a journal), you may have assigned copyright in it to the publisher.  In this case you may need to get permission from the publisher to reuse your own work.
  8. If you would like any help or advice about reusing third party copyright material in your thesis, please contact the University Copyright Advisors:

E-mail:  copyright@lboro.ac.uk;

Tel:  01509 222351 or 01509 222399


Back to Submitting a thesis »