At the University of Toronto, students own the copyright in their works, including their master’s and doctoral theses. Learn more about your copyrights as a student here.
What this means is that as the owner of your bundle of rights in your thesis:
You can authorize others to exercise some of the rights you exclusively own - a non-exclusive license
You can give someone the sole right to exercise some of the rights you own - an exclusive license
You can give someone ownership to all of your rights that lasts the length of your copyright term (your life plus 50* years) - a copyright transfer or copyright agreement
Though many authors of scholarly articles may not realize it, many journal publishers require that you transfer your copyright to them as part of their standard publication agreement. This signing away, or "assignment," of authors' copyright often prevents them from making copies of their own work freely available or from building on their work in subsequent works, amongst other rights.
Author rights allow you to:
Author rights are inheritable, separable, and assignable
Your rights in your thesis, however, do not exist in a vacuum. Students in some disciplines increasingly write integrated or "sandwich" theses. In such cases, they have already published or plan to publish parts or all of their manuscript(s) as a journal article prior to graduation.
In doing so, they will likely have entered into agreements with publishers when their manuscript was accepted for publication. These agreements may have asked an author to license or assign some or all of their rights to your publisher, and therefore may have placed restrictions on whether or not students may make their chapter which was published as an article openly available as part of a thesis.
The School of Graduate Studies recommends that in cases where a thesis chapter was previously published as a journal article, and where the publisher holds exclusive rights to publishing the article online, that students should include in place of their chapter an abstract of the chapter content and a link to the journal website where the original article can be read.
See a more granular discussion of these and other issues: Publishing Your Thesis
Protected under Canadian copyright law, moral rights remain with the author of a work, even when the copyright in the work has been sold or assigned.
Moral rights include:
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