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  • A consortium (consisting of some non-academics) has asked for permission to post pdf's of dissertations on their website (viewable to consortium members only).

    Could dissertations from Proquest Dissertations be used for that purpose?
  • It is my understanding that the copryight in dissertations submitted to Proquest/UMI is retained by the author/s. It would not be permissible to reproduce the dissertations in this manner without permission of the copyright holder/s, so you would need to contact the author/s. Restricting display to a limited number of consortium members to avoid publicly displaying the works is not way around the issue of permissions, as there is still the reproduction right to deal with. In my opinion, the activity you describe is not justified by any part of the copyright law, and would be an infringement.

    Also, I think it would be worth investigating whether authors sign any kind of exclusive license with Proquest for display of digital versions of their dissertations. After all, in many cases Proquest creates the digital version. If so, that would be an additional matter preventing your use of the digital versions.

    Ultimately you must look at the license agreement between Proquest and the institution that has negotiated access to the Proquest dissertation database. There you will probably find wording describing the uses permitted for that institution. That is not a matter of copyright law but of contract law. In any case, this type of use seems unpermissible to me, for one or all of the above reasons.

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