Copyright and Your Thesis

See the Faculty of Graduate Studies Thesis Guidelines for detailed information on thesis preparation.

Copyright Permission and Your Thesis
Copyright and Your Thesis in MSpace

Copyright Permission and Your Thesis

If the thesis or practicum includes copyrighted material from other sources, permission may be needed from the copyright holder(s). See the Info Slides from the Copyright Office home website for copyright guidance on when permission is needed or send your question to

If copyright permission is needed, you may use a sample copyright permission letter available from the Copyright Office home website. Some copyright holders prefer to use their own online permission forms or licences. All of these are acceptable ways to obtain permission.

Obtaining copyright permission, when it is needed, may take a short amount of time or a considerable amount of time. This must be taken into consideration when meeting a thesis submission deadline.

If copyright permission was obtained, include a “Used with permission” statement under the image or text in the thesis. The permission email or licence provided by the copyright holder should be retained by the student indefinitely.

In some cases, the copyright holder cannot be located or the cost of obtaining permission is prohibitive to using the text or image. In these situations, the text or image may have to be omitted from the thesis/practicum. Subsequently, information on where the reader can locate the image or text (such as the URL, title of book/journal, volume and issue number, page number, publisher, and date of publication), should be included in the thesis. A description of the purpose or significance of the text or image should also be provided. 

Copyright and Your Thesis in MSpace

Who owns the copyright in a thesis?

  • A student as author is the copyright owner.
  • Uploading a thesis to MSpace does not affect copyright ownership, but it does grant the University of Manitoba a defined set of rights.

Which rights does the University have under the MSpace licence?

  • The right to archive, reproduce, and distribute the thesis in any form, on a non-profit basis.
  • The right to make the thesis available in a publicly accessible online environment.
  • The right to grant these rights to other organizations under the same terms. For example, these rights are granted to Library and Archives Canada which also makes the thesis accessible online.
  • The right not to publish a thesis if there are concerns about copyright compliance.
  • The rights are granted for the full term of the copyright (currently the life of the author + 50 years), or as long as permitted by law.
  • The University includes a copyright notice on all reproductions made under the licence.
  • The University of Manitoba’s MSpace thesis publication practices are comparable to those at other universities Canada-wide, and aim to achieve the goal of expanding the overall body of freely available knowledge in a public space.

What are a student’s rights after uploading their thesis to MSpace?

  • A student retains their ability to publish their thesis commercially or non-commercially.
  • A student also retains moral rights (integrity, attribution, and association) in their thesis.

Other considerations

  • Copyright compliance: A student must declare that their thesis is copyright compliant before uploading it to MSpace. This means that students must ensure any use of copyright protected materials in their theses are either subject to a Copyright Act exemption, a licence, terms of use, written permission, or that they have “blanked out” but provided references and links to any materials they do not have the right to copy.
  • If a student wants to commercially publish their thesis prior to uploading to MSpace: A student needs to ensure the publisher’s terms allow them to post their thesis to MSpace. The SHERPA/RoMEO database is a useful resource to determine publisher copyright policies.
  • If a student wants to commercially publish their thesis after uploading to MSpace: A student must make the publisher aware of the rights retained by the University as granted by the MSpace licence, and not enter into any agreement contrary to these terms.
    • Many publishers are willing to commercially publish a thesis which has already been posted publicly on MSpace. Because the publication process will require vetting, peer review and editing, the reviewed and edited work can be seen as a new copyrighted product which can be sold commercially. However, students are strongly encouraged to confirm the practices of individual publishers directly or from the SHERPA/RoMEO database.
  • Restrictions on access in MSpace: A student should attempt to ensure that there is no content in their thesis that would prevent it from being made publicly accessible in MSpace. Allowing public access to a thesis helps a student on a reputational level to increase their exposure and the number of citations their thesis receives. Restrictions on access (temporary or permanent) may be granted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies in special circumstances, but evidence of the need for a restriction needs to be provided, and restricted access should not be presumed.

For further details about copyright, attend an information session offered through the GradSteps workshop series, see the UM Copyright Guidelines from the Copyright Office website at or contact the Copyright Office at