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You automatically are the copyright owner of a work by virtue of being the documented author. However, registering your copyright helps your case if in the future someone infringes and you want to sue. Here's a nice summary from U Michigan:
ProQuest/UMI offers a service in which they will register your copyright for you, and deposit the required copies with the Copyright Office. The fee for this service is $65, which includes the $35 copyright office fee. Although registration is not required to preserve your copyright, most copyright specialists feel that it is advisable since registration offers certain legal benefits if someone infringes on your copyright and you wish to bring suit. Note that if you choose not to register your copyright through ProQuest/UMI, you can still register it on your own, either at the time you deposit your thesis or at some later date. Information on self-registering your copyright can be found at eCO:Electronic Copyright Office.
When your thesis or dissertation is made available as open access via the Library, you still retain your copyright and own your work (whether it's officially registered or not). The only permission you are granting to the Library/PDXScholar is *non-exclusive* distribution. Note that you can add a one or two year embargo for if you like (some folks do this if they are reworking their thesis or dissertation into a book or publishing articles from their research).