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I have recently completed a senior/bachelor's thesis as part of my BS degree, and I would like to share my thesis with others. However, I plan on perhaps publishing the work that I did soon, so I have some concerns about whether it is ok to send the thesis to others. Is this a reasonable concern? Is there some way I can protect the document, i.e. by a watermark or something similar?

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In the U.S., for example, you have copyright of your document without doing anything at all.

Also, if you make it public in one way or another, then that literal publication (doesn't have to be in peer-reviewed journals, etc.), gives you priority. In particular, if someone else publishes (one way or another) the same thing, they are plagiarizing you, at least. Unethical professional behavior. Possibly violating copyright, too, depending on how literally they copy you.

Operationally, I think the point is that you should "publish" your work... or, anyway, don't worry about circulating it to "friends", because (in the U.S., anyway) your creation of it is an acknowledged thing... and it's not purposeful to think/worry about people "stealing ideas". Sure, people can do illegal things (stealing all kinds of stuff, how to prevent it?!?!), but the appropriate default is to not worry. Like "don't sit anxiously by your back door waiting for people to break in."

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