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Editors’ Choice: Copyleft, IP Rights, and Digital Humanities Dissertations

Who holds the intellectual property (IP) rights to your digital dissertation? In my case, the answer is complicated, involving multiple licenses and stakeholders.

Digital humanities productions brings new licensing concerns to the humanities. Our pre-digital discussions around IP usually centered around book contracts and open-access journals; rights claims from any agency that funds you during the production of a scholarly work might affect where you can publish or what types of acknowledgement you must include, but I’m assuming such agreements rarely control the reuse or extension of that work the way licensing for code, design, and digital content does. Digital humanities dissertations are an interesting case, given that they are usually “authored” by one person (although they may benefit from just as much collaborative support from librarians, faculty, and other academic mentors as any other scholarly endeavor), not completed while on the clock for a job, and may be supported funding from multiple sources, with a variety of IP stakes in your work.

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This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Lindsey Bestebreurtje based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Amy Williams, Brian Rosenblum, Forrest Rule, Kirk Hess ,Sara Humphreys, Sarah Canfield Fuller, Sayema Rawof, Subhasis Chattopadhyay