Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing

Michigan State University does not require you to file a copyright through ProQuest. As the author, your work is automatically protected upon creation.

Why copyright?

Even though copyright protection is secured automatically upon creation, there are certain definite advantages to copyright registration.

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
  • Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin. If made before or within five years of publication, registration establishes prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  • Registering for copyright allows for the claimant to receive statutory damages set out in Title 17, Section 504 of the U.S. Code, which range from $750 – $150,000, plus attorney fees, per copyright infraction
  • If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions.
  • Also, registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against importation of infringing copies.

Source: United States Copyright Office website

MSU Copyright Office

Creative Commons License Option

The option of presenting authors with the opportunity to assign a Creative Commons License (CCL) to a dissertation or thesis is now available. Authors will be able to select one of the 6 CCL codes using the ProQuest ETD Administrator. The CCL assignment applies to the version of the manuscript deposited in an institutional repository or library server. Authors can assign and revise their CCL selection prior to submission to the university. ProQuest will deliver the author's CCL license selection in the metadata (xml files) that is delivered to the university.

Please note that the Creative Commons License selection does not apply to ProQuest's use of the student's dissertation or thesis. ProQuest's use of a student's work is governed by the ProQuest Publishing Agreement that the student accepts during the submission process.

For information regarding Creative Commons licensing, please see the Creative Commons web page at:

Examples from the ProQuest site that explain each license:

example Creative Commons website screen shot 1

example Creative Commons website screen shot 2