MSc Dissertation and copyright: Reality bites

Beth is making real progress with her dissertation and her outputs are looking really good.  There is the small matter of copyright however – Beth is quite happy for me to use her material/IPR but a lot of her data is from a questionnaire and in depth interviews with research staff who have given only verbal consent for their responses to be shared.  Rachel, the copyright clearance officer, suggested that we really need explicit written consent before I start posting interview transcripts (anonymous of course) to the blog.  Beth will go back to her subjects to get an autograph – in the meantime here is a spreadsheet of Beth’s that I can share – data on UK IRs


2 Responses to MSc Dissertation and copyright: Reality bites

  1. Naomi Korn says:

    Hi Nick
    This issue has made me think of a couple ensuing points:

    1) Thesis are an excellent example of mish mashes of content from various sources. Under the CDPA, it would be possible to argue that the use of third party content in thesis, falls under the educational exceptions..the problems as you have quite rightly identified, flow from subsequent publication of the thesis or extracts thereof (blog, commercial publishing etc etc). This is why the rights need to be recleared
    2) What I am uncertain about is the need to get staff to give consent unless by means of contract or an underlying policy at the University, they retain the rights in their research outputs? (Or they are staff from other universities)?
    Thoughts welcome



  2. Nick says:

    Hi Naomi

    Thanks for your comments.

    With respect to your second point I wonder if we are, in fact, just being over-cautious? Our logic was that Beth had not been explicit with her interviewees about how their responses may be used and disseminated (i.e. via this blog) and that as the owners of their own IPR we should seek their unambiguous consent before using it in this way.

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