Fair dealing exception – Criticism or review
The fair dealing exception for the purpose of criticism or review allows for the reproduction of short excerpts in your thesis without permission. However, the criticism or review needs to be relatively explicit. The excerpt must be analyzed; if you are just using it as an example or to illustrate a point, you should not rely on this exception. When using this exception, you must properly cite the source in your thesis.
Content under a Creative Commons licence or other open licences
When reproducing content under an open licence in your thesis, make sure to properly cite the source by including the following information:
Title, Author, Source, Licence (with a link to the licence terms)
See Creative Commons Best practices for attribution for examples.
Give yourself plenty of time when requesting permission to obtain a response by your thesis submission deadline.
If the content you want to reproduce comes from a published article from a large scholarly publisher, locate the article online and follow the “rights and permissions” link (or a variation thereof). It will take you to the RightsLink platform. You may be asked to create an individual account to complete the request and obtain a licence, even if the permission is free. Save the licence as your written permission.
Otherwise, you may need to contact the copyright owner directly to request permission. If there is already an online form for this purpose on the copyright owner’s website, use it. If not, find an email address. Once you have a contact, include the following in your request:
- Introduce yourself
- Identify the content for which you are requesting permission
- Confirm that they are the copyright owner and have authority to provide permission
- Describe how you want to use this content
Unable to get permission to reproduce copyright-protected materials?
If you are unable to obtain permission, you may need to remove the content from your thesis and leave a blank space. This is a last resort: your thesis must be as complete as possible. This option is only acceptable if you are denied permission, if an unreasonable fee will be charged, or if you receive no response from the copyright owner after making repeated efforts at contacting them.
This blank space must contain the following:
- A statement that the material has been removed because of copyright restrictions
- A description of the material and the information it contained
- A full citation of the original source of the material
Example: “Figure 3 has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was a diagram of the apparatus used in performing the experiment, showing the changes made by the investigating team. Original source: Wu, G. and Thompson, J.R. (2008) Effect of Ketone Bodies on Dairy Cattle. Biochem J. 255:139-144.”
If it is an online source, if possible, include a stable URL.