As an author, you hold exclusive copyright to your original work from the very moment the work is created. The law clearly states that the moment a work is fixed in tangible form it is protected by copyright. At this point, you have complete legal authority over how the item may be used and shared. According to Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act, you have the exclusive right to
Reproduce the work
Prepare derivative works based upon the original work
Distribute copies of the work
Perform the work publicly
Display the work publicly
These rights belong to you until you decide to transfer them to another party. Most frequently, this transfer happens when you sign a contract with a publisher for the commercial publication of your original work. Once copyright is transferred, you no longer the exclusive holder of the rights mentioned above. The contract you sign with your publisher may allow you to retain some limited non-exclusive rights, or it may remove all rights from you and place them squarely in the hands of the publisher.
What many authors do not understand, however, is that it is not necessary to sign away all of your rights as an author in order to have something published. The traditional publishing model typically transfers all rights to the publisher, but there are ways to preserve the rights you need and deserve as the original creator of the work and to honor the publisher’s desire to use your document in its publication/for commercial reasons. You have options when it comes to publishing your work.
Here are options available to you as you seek to publish your work:
Many authors do not realize that when they sign an agreement with a publisher to publish their articles that they also shift their copyright to the publisher as well. Retaining your rights as an author is important to ensure you can use your writings in teaching or as a foundation for future publications. Attaching an author addendum to the publisher agreement will help ensure you retain the rights you need.
The following are examples of author addenda provided at other Universities indicating institutional support.