Managing Your Rights
Traditional publication agreements typically require a transfer of copyright from the author to the publisher. These arrangements, which are variously known as "Copyright Transfer Agreements" or "Publication Agreements," transfer all of your rights to the publisher as a single bundle. And yet it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Authors can negotiate with their publishers about transferring only those rights needed for publication, while retaining the rights which govern non-commercial uses of their work. This process is referred to as "unbundling" your rights.
Managing your copyright effectively will benefit you now and in the future. In the meantime, here are several options that you should consider before making any copyright decisions.
Research which publishers have the best agreements for your needs
The copyright policies of many journals and publishers can be found on Sherpa's RoMEO website. Investigate which policies match your goals, both as a researcher and as a teacher.
Negotiate the terms of your agreement
There are many publishers who are willing to negotiate the publishing agreement. Determine what terms of the agreement are amenable to you and which are not and then negotiate for the terms that fit your needs. In the end, only you can make the decision as to whether or not to sign the agreement.
Attach an author's addendum to the publisher agreement
Retain copyright and license specific rights to publisher
Rather than assigning your copyright to the publisher, grant them an exclusive or non-exclusive license. An exclusive license is one in which the copyright holder grants to the publisher sole permission for using the work for a certain period of time. A non-exclusive license is when the copyright holder allows multiple people to use the work. For examples of non-exclusive licenses, check into Creative Commons licenses.
Reserving Rights of Use in Works Submitted for Publication: Negotiating Publishing Agreements - Kenneth Crews, Columbia University
Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.