Publishers naturally want to protect investments and value for the materials they distribute. As such, publication agreements have typically required the transfer of all copyrights from an author to the publisher. Authors may sign agreements without realizing what rights they are surrendering. These agreements can severely curtail the author's options for use or distribution of a work, even in academic activities such as teaching, peer assessment, or archiving. At the same time, technology presents authors with new opportunities to control, use, and disseminate their original works.
In response to lobbying from authors and rights groups, today's publishing agreements are often negotiable, and publishers are increasingly sensitive to the academic author's need for flexibility regarding non-commercial uses of copyrighted works.
- Only sign a publishing agreement after you read and understand
the content. (Find some publishers' copyright and archiving
policies at the SHERPA site.)
- Talk to your publisher about granting only those rights needed
to effectively publish and/or distribute the material.
The Libraries' Scholarly
Communication Team and SPARC's Author Rights pages have advice.
- Try to retain all your other rights, specifying those of particular
value to you or your institution. For ideas, consult UConn's Author
Copyright Management Web site, SPARC's
Rights, and Cornell's What
Authors Can Do.
- Use a model agreement addendum or license to help identify typical issues or formulate agreement language.
- Author Copyright Management -- From the UConn Libraries Scholarly Communication Team.
- Copyright Management: What Authors Can Do (from Transforming Scholarly Communication and Publishing, Cornell) -- Outlines options to consider.
- Copyright Management for Scholarship (SURF Foundation)
- Manage Your Intellectual Property (U. California)
- Protecting Intellectual Property (UT Austin)
Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.