For the purposes of copyright law, an author is anyone who creates original expression in a fixed medium, like a book, journal article, computer software, a photograph, artwork or many other creative works. The creator of the expression is the Author and holds the copyright from the moment of creation.
As the Author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.
Copyright is a bundle of exclusive rights of the creator or copyright holder:
|The Reproduction right is the right to make copies of a protected work (e.g. as photocopies or online)|
|To Distribute||The Distribution right is the right to sell or distribute copies of the work to the public|
|Prepare Derivative Works or Adaptations||The right to create adaptations (called derivative works, e.g. translations), the right to prepare new works based on the protected work|
|Display or Perform the Work Publicly||The rights to perform a protected work (such as a stage play) or to display a work in public|
|Authorize Others to Exercise Any of These Rights||This bundle of rights allows a copyright owner to be flexible when deciding how to realize commercial gain from the underlying work; the owner may sell or license any of the rights.|
TAKE NOTE: Authors are typically asked to sign legally binding contracts such as a publication agreement or a copyright transfer agreement (both legally binding contracts) usually transferring ownership of copyright to the publisher who then determines how you may use your own work.
(By transferring your rights to a publisher, you will lose some or all of the above rights.)
Scholars who sign away all rights may utilize their work under the "fair use" provisions in copyright law, just like any other user.[1,2]
Retain the rights you want
Use and develop your own work without restriction
Increase access for education and research
Receive proper attribution when your work is used
If you choose, deposit your work in an open online archive where it will be permanently and openly accessible
Obtain a non-exclusive right to publish and distribute a work and receive a financial return
Receive proper attribution and citation as journal of first publication
Migrate the work to future formats and include it in collections
This LibGuide was borrowed with permission from Stephanie Brenenson, Graduate Studies / Scholarly Communication Librarian, at Florida International University. Content was adapted from Author's Rights and Copyrights: A Briefing Paper at openoasis.org
Please note that this guide is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice.
[1, 2] Adapted from: