Managing My Copyrights
As an author, you are encouraged to take an active role in managing your copyrights. Copyright holders have the right to reproduce their work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, and perform and display their work publicly. However, traditionally many publishers have required authors to transfer some or all of these rights in order to publish a journal article or book chapter. Publisher agreements may deprive an author of several rights - such as use of the work in the classroom without permission, reuse of the work in a future work, or the right to post the work on a personal website or institutional repository.
When working with a publisher, it’s important to:
- Think about any rights you may need in the future. Some basic rights you should retain include:
- Use for teaching purposes – in classroom, distance education, and lectures or seminars
- Posting to your personal website and/or to a subject or institutional repository such as K-REx
- Sharing with colleagues
- Making derivative works
- Read and understand the publisher’s agreement before signing. Know what rights it allows you to retain.
- Negotiate some or all of the rights with the publisher.
What Options do I have to retain copyrights?
There are 3 basic options when dealing with publishers:
- Transfer all copyrights to the publisher
This is the traditional solution, but the least desirable from the author's perspective. If you decide on this option, you should ensure at the minimum, that a copy of the final manuscript can be placed in our institutional repository, K-REx.
- Retain specific rights you need to do your work, but otherwise transfer copyright to the publisher.
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.
The Addendum to Publication Agreement is a PDF addendum provided by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) that allows you to retain your rights under copyright.
- Retain your copyright and grant specific rights to the publisher
The Science Commons Publication Agreement allows you to specify what rights you are willing to grant to the publisher.
How do I make my work available to others?
The use of a Creative Commons license allows you can grant permission up front allowing others to use your work in ways that you specify.
Do I need to register for a copyright?
That depends. Original works that are fixed in a tangible form are automatically copyrighted. The work does not have to be registered or published with the copyright symbol to be protected. However, you cannot sue someone for copyright infringement or claim statutory damages if your work is not registered. In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of a particular copyright.
How do I register my copyright?
You may register a work at any time while it is still in copyright. Registering is not difficult and can be done online. Visit the United States Copyright Office website for instructions and forms.
Have other questions about managing your copyrights?
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