Who Owns Your Work?

Do I own my work as a student of Dalhousie?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that the Copyright Act specifies that “every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work” is protected by copyright, and this includes student work. Your permission is required in order for the University to retain or otherwise use a copy of your work. This applies to works produced by both undergraduate and graduate students.

An exception to this is that if you were employed by Dalhousie University and during the course of your employment produced the work in question.  Under Canadian copyright law, work produced under the course of employment is owned by the employer, not the employee who created it.

As well, the following departments have unique intellectual property policies that are described in the Dalhousie Academic Calendar under the "Retention of Student Work" section:

Faculties of Architecture and Planning and Engineering

All work executed by students as part of their academic programs in the Faculties of Architecture and Planning and Engineering automatically becomes the property of the University and may be retained for exhibition or other purposes at any time and for an indefinite period.

Faculty of Computer Science

The Faculty of Computer Science has the right to retain the original or a copy of any work handed in by students. This will only be used for evaluation or for administrative purposes. The permission of the originator of the work is required if it is to be used in any other way.

What about my thesis/dissertation?

You retain ownership of the copyright in your thesis/dissertation, however when you submit the material you are required to sign a license with the University allowing Dalhousie to post it electronically as well as providing a copy to Library and Archives Canada, which will preserve and make your thesis available on the Internet and searchable databases.

These licenses clearly stipulate that you own the copyright to your thesis, but that you have granted a  "non-exclusive" license to the University and to Library and Archives Canada to reproduce your thesis.

Graduate students are encouraged to consult the Graduate Studies Thesis Format Guidelines and Grad Students and Copyright pages for more information.

Questions or comments?

We'd be happy to help out. Please send us your copyright questions and comments.

Dalhousie Libraries Copyright Office website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.