Author Copyright Agreements: Regaining Control
Association of College and Research Libraries & SPARC (n.d.). Author's rights [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/E8ysSrcGx0A
Did you know that researchers, authors, and creators own the copyright to any scholarly work they create until they give that right away? Copyright belongs to a creator as soon as a work is in a tangible form (e.g., a Word document, a web site, or a recording). U.S. copyright law gives the creator of an original work, such as a scholarly article exclusive rights to the following:
Transferring Those Rights
Many publisher contracts restrict creators' subsequent usage of their published work in their teaching and research. For example, contracts often impede placing the work in or using the work for the following:
In fact, after ceding copyright to the publisher, the creator generally has little say in how the work is later used. The result, all too often, is that contracts restrict the dissemination of one’s scholarship and lessen one’s impact as a researcher, creator, or author.
Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Accordingly, creators should take care to assign the rights to their work in a manner that permits them and their colleagues to use the work freely, both for their teaching, research, and distribution. Publishers require only the creator's permission to publish an article, not a wholesale transfer of copyright. One suggested mechanism for securing your rights is to use documents such as the SPARC Author's addendum to keep some of your rights.