The preface to the original 1992 edition of this manual began with this unsettling statement: "Copyright is one of the most confounding and misunderstood laws affecting colleges and universities." The years since then have made the relationship between the law and higher education even more complicated and perplexing. By 1996, changes in the law and the growing diversity of media for graduate dissertations demanded a fresh revision of the manual. Four additional years have brought further changes in the law and in the character of graduate study. While these developments may add to the confusion, they also underscore the necessity and importance of comprehending copyright duties and opportunities. New statutes have attempted to address the distinct problems of copyright infringement on the Internet, and court rulings have begun to explore the meaning of fair use in the context of diverse media and technologies. Academicians and their professional associations are taking a stronger interest in copyright developments and are often seeking to influence the shape of the law. Researchers, educators, and librarians have a strong interest in fair use, but efforts in recent years to convene interested parties to define fair-use guidelines resulted in no strong consensus. Some of those same educators, however, have found themselves concerned about finding greater protection for their own works as their "lecture notes" are distributed on the Internet, and as their teaching materials become stored and reused in the name of "distance learning."Some of the significant developments since 1996 include:
Although some developments may clarify the law, they can also exacerbate tensions on campus as scholars try to grasp the bewildering duties and opportunities that copyright can entail. Faculty and students also are discovering that they often want the benefit of both fair use for research and strong copyright protection for their own materials. Copyright is especially perplexing for graduate students, who usually face these issues for the first time. Graduate students frequently overlook their copyright obligations: nearly fifteen percent of all doctoral dissertations sent to UMI for publication lack all necessary copyright clearances and permissions. Those thousands of student authors face the unwanted burden of seeking late permissions or revising their work to eliminate potential infringements. To seek permissions after the dissertation is complete is undoubtedly frustrating at a demanding time in one's career.
This manual is intended to help graduate students and advisors understand legal rights and duties at an early stage, before the legal issues can become serious and frustrating. This manual should help researchers identify when they need copyright clearances and show how to obtain them. It should also help graduate students protect their own copyrights. Although this guide focuses on doctoral dissertations, its principles extend as well to master's theses and many other works. Much of this work also examines the fundamentals of copyright; the information presented here ought to be useful for seasoned researchers needing a succinct overview or refresher as they prepare new works from journal articles to multimedia projects.
Users of this manual will discover that copyright is never simple; no one has quick and streamlined answers. Indeed, this overview hardly touches the depth of copyright law-it is only an introduction to some of the most common situations. It cannot serve as legal advice. If, after studying this text, your circumstances raise copyright issues that you are not prepared to address alone, talk with your faculty advisor and consult an attorney. Some campuses offer legal assistance services. Appendix C lists sources of further information, including mention of an international email discussion list where subscribers may post questions and elicit insights from experts throughout the country and the world.
Preparation of this manual was supported by ProQuest Information and Learning (the parent company of UMI) in conjunction with the Council of Graduate Schools. The author gives special thanks to William Savage at UMI who has supported and fostered this project for many years. David J. Billick, now at Microsoft Corporation, conceived the original project and made the first edition possible. I continue to appreciate the valuable contributions from reviewers of the 1992 and 1996 editions: Jules B. Lapidus of CGS, Prof. William Patry, Prof. Robert Cape, Prof. Carol Diminnie, Steven Welsh, Erik H. Serr, Janet Driver, Delphine Lewis, Mary Kay Murray, and Judy Homer. My thanks also extend to the reviewers of drafts of this new edition, including Dean John Eaton of Virginia Tech, and my colleagues and associates here at IUPUI: Dwayne Buttler, Barbara Gushrowski, Isaac Levy, Rebecca Parman, and Noemí Rivera Morales.