Authors retain the copyright to their work until such time as they assign it to someone else. They are granted the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work.
Many authors sign agreements with publishers without realizing exactly what rights they are surrendering. Some faculty members, for instance, have discovered that they cannot even place copies of their own published articles on their website without first securing permission from the publisher. As a result, more and more faculty members are now signing publishing contracts which permit them to retain certain rights.
It is up to you to decide whether you will assign all of your rights, some of them, or none of them to a publisher. You might want to consider retaining some of your rights if you plan on using your work in any of the following ways:
Keep in mind, the decision to assign copyright is serious and can have significant implications for the future availability of your work.
An employee’s authorship rights to works created in the scope and course of employment are dependent on the policies of the employer. Under the University of Idaho’s copyright policy, employees retain their rights in copyright to works they create, with some exceptions. For more information see FSH 5300.
Who Owns the Rights to Your Scholarship? - University of Minnesota
Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.