Copyright Guide for Thesis Preparation

The Licenses you will sign: Spectrum & Library and Archives Canada license agreements

As a graduate student at Concordia, you hold the copyright of your thesis. When submitting a thesis you will sign two licenses, one with Concordia and another with Library and Archives Canada. These licenses allow your thesis to be made available in various ways.

At Concordia, your thesis is submitted through Spectrum, Concordia’s institutional repository. The Spectrum website contains research and creative activity published by faculty in addition to submitted theses. The Spectrum license originates from the Concordia Policy on Intellectual Property


“34. Upon submission of a thesis by a graduate student, the graduate student shall be deemed to have granted the University a non-exclusive, royalty free license to reproduce, archive, preserve, conserve, communicate to the public by telecommunication or on the internet, loan, distribute the thesis worldwide for non-commercial purposes, in any format including electronic. In the event of a deferment of a thesis for distribution or publication, it is understood that the University’s license to communicate, loan and/or distribute shall only take effect as of the expiry of the agreed upon deferment period.”

This Policy is also reflected in the Graduate Calendar3 and the Thesis Office4 at Concordia. Note that the Policy allows you to defer depositing your thesis in Spectrum for a specific time period, as determined by the School of Graduate Studies.

In addition, students are required to sign a license agreement with Library and Archives Canada 5. This license is similar to the Concordia Spectrum license, except that it is transferable to third parties and allows for remunerated uses of which you are eligible to receive a portion. For more information, please consult the Library and Archives Canada website.

These licenses clearly stipulate that you own the copyright to your thesis but that Concordia and Library and Archives Canada will preserve and make your thesis available, usually via the Internet and other searchable databases. These “non-exclusive” licenses mean that you can enter into other agreements, such as publishing your thesis, but any subsequent license agreements must also respect the fact that Concordia and Library and Archives Canada have a non-exclusive right to make your thesis available. For example, it is not possible for you to assign an exclusive license for your thesis to a publisher as part of a publishing contract, as you have already granted a non-exclusive license. Generally, you should inform any publisher interested in your thesis that your thesis will be available on the Internet and in other databases by Concordia and Library and Archives Canada.

The thesis submission process at Concordia is similar to that in other universities in Canada and the world. The goal is to make all scholarly works easily available to students, researchers and the public at large. Science and academic research advances by building on the work of others. Just as you may have used other theses or works in your research, your thesis will be available to guide others in their research.



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Updated: Friday 12 November 2021
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