The journey toward better rights management as an author starts with knowing your rights as a creator. This page is here to help! Here are some essential things to know:
For more detailed information on copyright, please see the Conn College Libraries' copyright page.
It is vital to know a few basic things when considering your right as an author or creator.
1. U.S. copyright law grants you, as the creator of an original work, the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display or create derivative works. Copyright is automatic from the moment of creation, and does not need to be registered in order for copyright to apply. For more information on basic copyright, fair use, classroom use or other topics, please see the Conn College Libraries' guide to copyright.
2. The above rights can (and often are) superseded by licenses or contracts that are agreed to by both parties. Many publisher contracts transfer the above exclusive rights (to reproduce, distribute, display, etc.) to the publisher. If you agree, this means you can give up these rights and lose control of your own work. It is vital that you read these publisher contracts carefully!
3. Rights transfer does not have to be all or nothing! You can often negotiate to retain some these rights in a non-exclusive way while still satisfying the needs of publishers. For more infomation on how to do that, see the box to the right, "Preserving Your Rights."
So how can you retain rights as an author/creator? You might wish to consult this brochure from SPARC, an organization dedicated to open resources. But here are some quick guidelines:
You can preserve your rights to copy, distribute and deposit your work — and ensure the right of others to do the same — by publishing the work with a Creative Commons license. These licenses serve to tell potential users what can and cannot be done with the work, and they come with a range of restrictions.
What's more, while Creative Commons licenses can (and often are) be applied to journal articles, especially those that are published in an open access forum, they can also be applied to any kind of creative work, including born-digital creations.
You can learn more about how to get started here — or click the video below to learn more about Creative Commons.