Author's Rights



welcome to I wrote it can I post it an online tutorial on authors rights presented by Alexis Fetzer reference and research services librarian at the muse law library and Lucretia McCauley header of scholarly communications at Boatwright library first of all congratulations on having your work published but before this can happen you will be required to sign a publication agreement with your respective publisher without realizing it you could be signing away the right to use your work in a number of ways problems may arise when you or others want to use your work in a course pack or on electronic reserves you could be prevented from mounting a copy of your work on your website or on an institutional repository or even on an academic social network like academia.edu you could even be prevented from distributing copies of your work to your colleagues with these possibilities in mind it's easy to see how the publication process fails to serve the needs of an inattentive author these agreements likely capture more rights than are necessary to publish your work and can significantly limit your impact as an author lesson number one in discussing authors rights is therefore to scrutinize the publication agreement understand the rights you have initially and the rights you wish to retain before signing any publication agreement you have certain exclusive rights as an author until you assign these rights to someone else you are the only party who can use your work in these ways your initial exclusive rights as an author include first the right to reproduce your work or make copies second the right to distribute copies of your work third the right to publicly perform your work for the right to display your work in public and finally you have the exclusive right to modify your work or prepare derivative works based on the original material the author is the copyright holder of these rights unless and until the author transfers the copyright to someone else agreement sometimes this is called an assignment of Rights some publishers use a license to publish agreement rather than a full transfer of Rights this would mean that an author retains any rights not explicitly licensed to the publisher once the author has transferred copyright the author must ask permission to use his or her work in some way unless one of the statutory exemptions is met and copyright law examples to this are the first sale doctrine or fair use under the first sale doctrine the purchaser of a legal copy of copyrighted work can treat that copy in any desired way so long as the copyright owners exclusive rights are not infringed for example if you purchase a book you can then go around and sell the book or destroy it if you like the first sale is permitted under the first sale doctrine another statutory defense is fair use under certain limited set of circumstances the otherwise impermissible use of a copyrighted work is permitted under the fair use doctrine what is considered to be fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis taking into account several factors but the first sale doctrine and fair use our statutory defenses to what would otherwise be a copyright violation when it comes to your own work that you've authored you do not want to have to rely on a statutory defense to be able to use your own work remember that agreements are negotiable transferring copyright does not have to be an all-or-nothing thing do not be discouraged from opening up negotiations to retain certain rights with your publisher you can choose to hold on to rights to make use of your work in ways that serve your needs promote education promote research and promote scholarship so as an author what should you think about before signing a publishers agreement authors should think about their current needs in any future uses of their work some things to consider our attribution will you be given credit for your work think about preserving the integrity of your work does the publisher have the right to alter your work in any way you may want to consider the future educational use of your work for example will you be able to distribute your work in its entirety to your students without asking permission from the publisher another thing to consider is future professional use of your work for example can you give a conference presentation based on your work or can you include part of your work in a later manuscript finally take into account new technologies which might impact how you will want to use your work in the future can you post your work to an institutional repository or to a website like academia.edu without retaining your right to distribute your work maybe not there are certain things that you should be aware of when reviewing publishers agreements first be aware of contractual terms that restrict your ability to create derivative works these include things like translations or musical arrangements motion pictures are literary material based on your original work another thing to be aware of our broad non-compete clauses and contracts with sweeping terms that can be used to restrict what else and author publishes and when take time to read your copyright transfer of agreement carefully keep in mind that publishers have different policies on what rights they want and the rights they will allow you to retain in order to understand these policies let's look at three different examples of copyright transfers of agreement the first example is from the American Medical Association and it states that all copyright ownership is transferred to the AMA the agreement is very restrictive and there is no mention of what rights if any the author may retain the wiley-blackwell agreement is also restrictive but it goes a step further and explains what rights the author may retain and how they may use the publication going forward note that the agreement is not very generous with granting the author the right to post their article and it only allows the submitted version to be posted before peer review and final editing another example is the Journal of librarianship and scholarly communication disagreement is very friendly for the author as an author you grant the journal publisher publication rights but you retain all of the copyrights once you've read your copyright transfer of agreement carefully and made some notes you are now ready to negotiate try to negotiate with publishers to retain explicit ownership for your content one way to do this is to present an author addendum to the publisher that transfers only those rights needed for publication offering an author addendum will not offend the publisher they may not accept the addendum but they may offer you a revised copyright transfer of agreement that includes the requests made in the addendum a sample addendum form is available on the University scholarly communications web page as you communicate with your publisher explain why it is important for you as the author to retain certain rights we've provided some possible negotiation steps that you might consider such as asking the publisher to articulate why your contrary terms are insufficient to allow publication you may also want to consider identifying publishers that will facilitate the widest dissemination of your work as publishers receive more frequent questions from others about their retention of rights it may encourage publishers to rethink their policies publishing is a partnership for more information on authors rights please consult the University of Richmond's guide on authors rights at the following URL another great resource is the website of the scholarly publication and academic research coalition also known as spark their webpage on authors rights includes their authors rights addendum for publishing agreements finally feel free to contact myself Alexis Fetzer or Lucretia McCauley head of scholarly communications at Boatwright library to request assistance please now that any advice we may offer will not constitute legal advice thank you for joining us for this online tutorial on authors rights and best of luck to you and your publishing process

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