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Submitting Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)

This guide provides guidance for American University students who are required to submit their theses or dissertations electronically. IMPORTANT NOTE: links to AU's official ETD Submission and Style Guide and templates are located under the HOME tab below

Copyright and Your Dissertation

Your dissertation is protected by copyright

As an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, your dissertation is automatically protected by copyright, which gives you the exclusive right to control the reproduction and distribution of your work.

So why register?

Registration makes your copyright enforceable. Without it you can’t sue for infringement.  It gives legal notice of your ownership and the date it was registered, which can be easily verified in the database. Note: the registration lag time is up to six months so it’s recommended to request a 6-month embargo to cover that period.

Cost to register: $75 via the ProQuest Dissertation/Thesis submission process or $45 if registered directly with Copyright Office (effective 3/20/2020) - check for changes in copyright fees. Register directly:

If you choose not to register: it’s still legal and recommended to include a copyright notice on it.     Example:  © 2020 Jane Scholar

Creative Commons License

You have the option to either enforce your rights or share them

If you favor allowing others to reuse or republish your work without asking permission, you have the right to forgo your copyright protections.

You can register a Creative Commons license that announces your willingness to permit broad public use.


Or you can include a statement spelling out the uses you want to permit.

Example: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).