Intellectual Property Issues in Engineering

A resource for engineering graduate students at the University of Arkansas, intended to help them make informed decisions about copyright, patents, and other intellectual property matters associated with their studies


Please be advised: Information and/or links provided on this site are not and do not constitute legal advice and are for informational purposes only.  Seek legal advice from a licensed attorney to address any legal questions or concerns.

Special Problems

Use of Copyrighted Material

U.M.I. ProQuest assumes no responsibility for direct quotations used without permission. When any copyrighted material is used extensively, (that is more than 150 words in a direct quotation), the student must conform to all laws pertaining to the use of copyrighted material. The use of a figure or legend directly from a publication that is not cited, is considered plagiarism. Also, excessive use of materials, including figures and legends, from a single publication, even if cited, is a copyright violation. In this case, it is acceptable to contact the author of the publication for permission to use his /her work. Consult with the Technology Licensing Office, (479) 575-7243, for information about copyright laws. The Graduate School reserves the right to check any thesis for plagiarism." Quoted from Preparing...Guide by the Graduate School. (emphasis added)

Plagiarism and copyright issues are different but related. By citing things correctly you will avoid the ethical concern of plagiarism (trying to use other peoples words or work as your own).

Copyright is a legal issue and requires you to be aware of general guidelines of "fair use" and know when you MUST request permission to use materials that are copyrighted in your publications including your dissertation and thesis. All fixed original works are copyrighted in the United States. This includes images found on the Internet and other publications. Articles and books, as well as unpublished writings, are also copyrighted. If you published an article in a journal, you most likely assigned copyright ownership to the journal and you may need to get permission to reuse substantial portions for your thesis or dissertation. More information about copyright can be found in this Research Guide and by talking with your advisor or primary professor.