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Thesis Writers' Guide: Copyright for Honors Theses


Any relation to your thesis work?

Typical situations that have arisen in recent Honors theses

Scenario 1 

You are working on a thesis about a TV series.  You are discussing particular scenes and would like to include clips in your thesis.
Suggested solution:
In this case, you might put together a file of clips (not full episodes) in a .zip file for your honors panel, so that they can quickly match your analysis with the source material.  However, in your final SCARAB submission, you should only give either a full citation which includes the episode number and time code for the scene in question or (if the visual representation is essential) a still of the moment in question, with a full citation including time code. As is the case with text quotations, include only as much as is needed to make your point.

Scenario 2

You have done fieldwork in a community and would like to include photos and/or potentially controversial statements from that fieldwork in your final analysis.  You did not obtain permission from the subjects of the photos to use their likenesses in a publication and the statements were made outside the framework of the formal interviews for which you did obtain permission to publish.  The material is all essential to your thesis.
Suggested solution:
While arguments might be made for and against publication in terms of copyright, you should consider the effect that your thesis may have on the community in your study.  Even though you have some permission to publish formal interviews, you should at least ask permission to publish the material obtained outside those interviews.  If obtaining such permission might be impossible, talk with your advisor about placing restrictions or an embargo on your thesis so that the material cannot be accessed on the Internet.  When in doubt, consult with the Bates IRB.

Scenario 3

Your literary analysis seems overly academic, and you would like to include artworks that are on the same theme in order to enliven it for your readers.
Suggested solution:
If you are not analyzing the images, or are not directly relating them to your text in a way that is necessary to your argument, do not include them in your SCARAB submission.
Even if you do analyze them, only include them for your committee and replace them with citations UNLESS you are retrieving them from the website of actual owner of the art, and that owner clearly grants permission for the redistribution of the work.  If you are uncertain, err on the side of pointing your readers to the art, rather than reproducing it in your thesis.