Copyright exists from the moment an original work is fixed in a tangible form. It lasts for the life of the author/s plus 70 years. Section 106 of the Copyright Act states that only the owner of a copyright has the authority to use the work in one of five ways:
Transferring your copyright to the publisher may prevent or limit your ability to:
Transferring your copyright to the publisher allows the publisher to republish, redistribute, and commercialize your work without your permission. Publishers can even withhold your work from publication.
1. Scrutinize the Copyright Transfer Agreement
2. Negotiate with the Publisher: transferring copyright doesn't have to be all or nothing
Publishers require only the author’s permission to publish an article, not a wholesale transfer of copyright.
Use Sherpa/Romeo to quickly find publishers' policies when deciding where to publish and what rights you'll need to negotiate.
Use the How Open Is It? guide to make informed decisions about where to publish based on publishers' policies.
Use the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine to generate a cusomized addendum to your publisher's contract, reserving the rights you need.
Toll Access publishers’ contracts restrict an author's use of published work in teaching and research. Contracts may prohibit placing the final version publisher's pdf:
Some publishers anticipate an author's legitimate need to distribute and repurpose his/her work and no longer require exclusive rights to publication.
About embargos: Some publishers balance their interest in recouping publishing costs with the author’s desire to disseminate their ideas broadly, placing an embargo, usually 6-12 months, on the author's ability to place the publisher's pdf in a digital archive.
Are you able to?
-Adapted from this list
Want to know if you can post your article somewhere? Look yourself up in dissemin. This site can detect if your paper is trapped behind a paywall.
Did you know that you can get your copyright back under certain circumstances?
The Authors Alliance and Creative Commons have created a Termination of Transfer Tool to help you regain your copyright.
How to craft a reversion letter using this guide from the Authors Alliance.
"Experts on copyright law and scholarly publishing discuss how scholars and researchers can take full advantage of opportunities afforded by digital technology in today's legal environment."
The resuable files and examples were developed by Ann Viera to make the paper version of the Author's Rights Retention Kit for the UT College of Veterinary medicine authors.
Alternate versions created for Agriculture can be found here.