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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Copyright and Dissertations, Theses, and Master's Reports

This resource is intended to provide copyright guidance to Michigan Tech graduate students writing their dissertations, master's thesis, or master's report.

Additional Help

Need more help with licensing options? Contact the Graduate School at 

Creative Commons License Chooser (beta)

Don't know what license you need? The Creative Commons License Chooser tool (beta version) is here to help. Follow the steps to select the appropriate license for your work. This site does not store any information.

The original License Chooser is also available here.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges. 

Part of the Creative Commons mission is to provide Creative Commons licenses that give every person and organization in the world a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of those works

Have a question?

Librarians are available to answer your questions. Click on the Ask Us bubble for FAQs and contact options (chat, email, text, phone).


The information presented in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

How do I license a paper with 3rd party content?

The type of access and licensing option you choose (explained below) must be consistent with the permissions you have received from the copyright holders of all 3rd party content in your paper. Be sure to also mark 3rd party content with the appropriate copyright statements.

If you have not received permission to use someone else's content (images, figures, etc.), or if you are not sure you have permission to allow you choose certain access or licensing options, contact the Graduate School at

Licensing on ProQuest

When you deposit a master's thesis or dissertation on ProQuest, you will have the option to make the work available open access or traditional access through that platform. There is a fee associated with open access, but you are not required to make your work available in this manner even if you have selected open access on Digital Commons.

Licensing Options in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech

When you deposit your work in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, you will choose one of two access options:

  1. Campus Access - restrict access to your work to only those on Michigan Tech's campus
  2. Open Access - distribute your work openly to the world

Your copyright is not impacted by your access option. No matter which option you choose, you still hold the copyright to your report, thesis, or dissertation and others must seek your permission to reuse it.

Do you want others to be able to reuse your work?

If the answer to this question is " Yes!" then make sure you choose the Open Access option. This means you may then choose a Creative Commons license (listed below). These optional, free licenses allow copyright holders to easily convey to others how their works may be shared or altered. Choosing one of the more restrictive Creative Commons licenses does not prevent you from providing additional permissions to others upon request.

What about my advisor?

After you submit your work to Digital Commons, your advisor will be able to review the work and the licensing options you have selected. Your advisor may request changes.

Creative Commons Licenses

CC0 Public Domain Dedication - By using CC0, you waive all copyright and related rights to a work to the extent possible under the law. (This is not an option for your Michigan Tech dissertation, thesis, or report, but is useful knowledge to have.)

Attribution, CC BY - This is the most open of all licenses offered. Allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

Attribution-Share Alike, CC BY-SA - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial, CC BY-NC - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, CC BY-NC-SA - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Attribution-NoDerivatives, CC BY-ND - This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, CC BY-NC-ND - This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Creative Commons License
Adapted from the Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resource (OER) Edited by Amy Larson by Regina Gong is licensed under a  Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.