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- Copyright for Authors
What are Your Rights As an Author?
As an author, as soon as your work is fixed in a “tangible form of expression” you become the copyright holder, even if this form is an unpublished manuscript. Registration is not required to become the legal copyright holder of your own work. As the copyright holder you are automatically granted the following five exclusive rights:
- Right to Reproduce
- Right to Prepare Derivative Works
- Right to Distribute
- Right to Display Publicly (related to artistic works)
- Right to Perform Publicly (related to musical or dramatic works)
It is important to understand your exclusive rights and for you to consider what rights you may be giving up before signing any publishing agreements. Many publishers routinely require authors to transfer copyright to the publisher. If you sign over your rights to publishers you could lose the right to:
- Use your work in a course pack
- Place copies of your work on print or electronic reserves
- Post a copy of your work on your web site
- Deposit a copy of your work in your institutional repository
- Distribute a copy of your work to colleagues or students
Tools for Retaining Copyright
Before you sign any agreement, you have the option to attempt to negotiate the terms and retain some of your rights if the publisher is willing. After signing your agreement, it is important to keep a copy for your records. As the author, you always retain the right to be identified whenever the work is distributed or published.
Below are several resources that will help you navigate this process and assist you in negotiating the retention of your rights.
- Author Rights & the SPARC Author AddendumThe Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides author addendums that can be attached to a publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights.
- Copyright Advisory NetworkA community of librarians, copyright scholars, policy wonks that provide a forum to connect people and answer copyright questions.
- How Can I Share It?This website provides information and practical tools that help you determine how and where your articles can be shared with your colleagues.
- An Introduction to Publication Agreements for AuthorsAn informative article by Timothy K. Armstrong that describes the rights needed by publishers and provides an overview of publication agreements with examples.
- Keep Your CopyrightsWritten by legal academics at Columbia Law School, this site is designed to help creators hold on to their copyrights, to license their rights on author-friendly terms, and in general to encourage creators to take a more active role in managing the life of their creative work.
- NIH Public Access PolicyThe NIH public access policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication.
- Publication ContractsAuthors Alliance webpage offering tips on negotiating publication contracts.
- Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine (SCAE)The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will help you generate a PDF form that you can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights. Updated by Creative Commons.
- Sherpa RomeoSHERPA RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.
- Termination of Transfer ToolA tool designed by the Authors Alliance and Creative Commons to terminate the transfer of authors' rights for previously published works.
- A Very Short Guide to NegotiationThis guide from Arizona State University offers tips and strategies for authors to negotiate their copyright with publishers.
In recent years, many authors have forgone traditional publishing models in favor of publishing their work in Open Access journals. Simply defined, Open-access (OA) is scholarly content that is freely available on the Internet for anyone to view, download and use without first requiring a subscription to access it.
CSU Libraries believes that the free exchange of information and ideas is vital to scholarly discourse. Open Access to scholarly communication accelerates the creation of knowledge while simultaneously increasing the visibility of research results. Below are several CSU Libraries resources that promote Open Access.
Open Access and Scholarly Communication
by Michelle Wilde Last Updated Oct 24, 2022 124 views this year
Informational Purposes Only
The materials and information on this guide are intended for informational purposes only. CSU Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Please consult the University's Office of the General Counsel or your own attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.