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Copyright and Publishing Your Dissertation: Home

A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Materials, Publishing Choices, and Your Rights as an Author

What is this guide for?

⇒ Are you writing a dissertation?  

  • This guide covers questions both about what you put in your work, and what happens when you're finished writing and are preparing to submit your dissertation to UC Graduate Division for publishing online. 
  • From the beginning of the writing process all the way to submitting and publishing your dissertation, this guide will walk you through addressing copyright and other legal considerations based on the content you're using in your dissertation. It will also help you address related questions once you're finished writing, including considerations about posting (publishing) your dissertation online, and the intellectual property rights you'll walk away with as an author. You can get started by jumping straight to Apply the Workflow.


⇒ Do you need this guide? Probably!

  • Are you using materials created by other people in your dissertation? Perhaps you're using photos, text excerpts, scientific drawings, or diagrams? You might need the authors' permission to include them, because you will be publishing your dissertation online when you submit it to the UC Berkeley Graduate division. This guide explains when you need permission and how to get it.
  • Are you using materials from an archive? You might have signed agreements or accepted terms of use that affect what you can publish from those materials. This guide explains how to proceed.
  • Are you publishing information about particular living individuals? You might need to consider their privacy rights. This guide will help you address privacy-related questions that affect how you can make your dissertation available.
  • Once you've finished writing, do you have questions about what you own, and what your rights as an author are? Use this guide.
  • Do you have questions about whether to embargo your dissertation if you don't want it read by the public immediately for certain reasons? This guide addresses them.

Best Practices, Not Legal Advice

This guide is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. While the Library cannot provide legal advice, if you are a UC Berkeley graduate student, we'd be delighted to consult with you as you consider copyright issues further in drafting your dissertation. To schedule a consultation, please e-mail the Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg, at