Know Your Rights
Many publication agreements require that authors sign away full or partial copyright to their works.
This short video from the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) at Columbia University discusses the ramifications of common publication agreements and gives advice for authors interested in keeping their rights.
About Author Rights
You have author rights that apply to all original works
- You hold the copyright to your work as soon as you write it
- You hold the copyright for your lifetime plus 70 years
- Your copyright is inheritable, or you can sign it over to another person
- You have the ability to give away your rights
Author rights include:
- The right to reproduce your work, including publishing, copying, etc.
- The right to create derivative works that build upon your existing work
- The right to distribute the work through publication, sales, copying, etc.
- The right to display, perform, or broadcast your work in public
- The right to receive attribution for your work
Signing away your rights
- This is most often done when signing a publication agreement
- You lose your rights under copyright (with some fair use exceptions)
- Current and future use of your work can be partially or completed controlled by the new rights holder depending on the agreement
Keeping your author rights
Author rights may sometimes be negotiated. For example, an addendum to the publisher agreement may be attached when publishing a new article so that you may keep some or all of your rights.
Tools like the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine can quickly help you create an easy addendum to attach to a journal publication agreement.
SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, provides a brief overview on how to approach publishers with an addendum, including answers to such questions as "what if the addendum is rejected" at http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum.