What are your rights as an author?
In the "What is copyright?" section, there is a brief explanation of 1) what is copyrightable and 2) what are the rights for each copyright owner.
You'll note that there's actually a long list of rights. The word "copyright" is misleading because it implies one right. In fact you own many rights - not just to copy or sell, but also to make derivatives, such as translations. This is how novelists can sell their movie rights; they are selling the right to a derivative work (the movie) independent of the sale of their novel (the original work).
Traditionally, academic journals and book publishers ask authors to sign away all their rights when they publish. This is called a copyright transfer or an exclusive license. Recently there has been push back against this practice, since digital rights now mean that books are never "out of print" and therefore rights never revert back to the author. Tools that authors can use include:
- Contract negotiation, either on a point-by-point basis or through tools like the SPARC Author Addendum: https://sparcopen.org/our-work/author-rights/
- Requesting rights reversion back to the author after the appropriate number of years. The Author's Alliance has a great toolkit: http://www.authorsalliance.org/resources/rights-reversion-portal/
- Open access policies on campuses so that authors can retain rights to their author manuscripts by depositing with an institutional repository like the USF Scholarship Repository: http://repository.usfca.edu/
The Gleeson Library offers publication consultations as well as publication workshops for departments and organizations on campus. If you'd like to make an appointment, contact your liaison librarian.
Fair Use: Using Copyrighted Works in Your Works
Have you heard a song parody? Looked at appropriation art in a gallery? Maybe you've listened to some DJs or participated in remix culture?
Comedians, artists, authors, and other creators are free to use other copyrighted works - often without paying. How is this legal? The answer is because the new works are considered transformative, and give new meaning and purpose to the original work. This use relies in the part of copyright law that lays out exceptions for fair use.
U.S. Copyright Act, 17 USC 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use
1) your use of the original work is fair
2) the nature of the original work in relation to your use
3) that you've taken only as much of the work as you need
4) you don't harm the market/value of the original work
Academic research and publication often relies on fair use, and we've written about it more on this CRASE blog post: http://craseusf.org/2017/04/defending-free-speech-in-academic-publishing-through-copyright-and-fair-use/