At Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane Australia, PhD and Masters by Research candidates are required to deposit both print and digital copies of their theses and dissertations. The fulltext of these digital theses is then made freely available online via the Australian Digital Thesis (ADT) collection. Management of copyright issues has been a major headache and workload problem for the Library: there are many parties involved in the deposit process, and the lack of a common understanding about the rights and responsibilities of the various stakeholders has made the process very complex and time consuming. The response of some universities has been to limit access to just the metadata and abstract. At QUT this is not an option as the University is committed to freeing up access to publicly funded research and its outputs. QUT is also at the forefront of various open access initiatives, including the Open Access to Knowledge Law (OAK Law) Project that is working to develop legal protocols for managing copyright issues in an open access environment and investigate provision and implementation of a rights expression language for implementing such protocols. This paper discusses the aims of this project in relation to the QUT ETD experience, as well as how these fit in with the larger ETD open access environment.