Category: Copyright Education (page 1 of 6)

Public Domain Day 2019 Recap

Public Domain Day 2019 graphic

2019 began with a celebration; after a 20-year pause, works published in the United States in 1923 entered the public domain. In recognition of this occasion, Ohio State University Libraries began the Public Domain Day project, collaborating with partners across the university to bring attention to works whose term of copyright protection has expired and to encourage creative uses of public domain materials in the University Libraries’ collections.

In January of this year, the Public Domain Day project website was launched to share more information about the project and the partnerships involved. With a focus on public domain music, the project website highlighted a selection of musical scores that we believe entered the public domain in the U.S. in 2019.

Additionally, project partners worked together to provide a number of events throughout the year. Here is a recap of all the events for Public Domain Day 2019:

  • January 25, 2019: Public Domain Day Information Session. Copyright Services offered an information session with an overview of the ways a work may enter the public domain in the United States and how public domain materials may be used and shared to promote innovative research and creative expression. We also shared our plans for celebration at OSU with the Public Domain Day Project.
  • March 1, 2019: Public Domain Chamber Music and Chat. Two compositions, published in 1923, were the focus for this concert event. Composer Paul Hindemith’s Cello Sonata op. 25 no. 3 and String Quartet op. 22 were performed by OSU School of Music Professor Mark Rudoff and the Janus Quartet. The event included opening remarks on the significant public domain developments in 2019 and additional background on the two pieces performed. With the assistance of Professor Beth Black, Undergraduate Engagement Librarian for University Libraries, this event was also offered as a session for the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP).
  • April 11, 2019: OSU Symphonic Band concert featuring ‘McKinley’s Own’ march by Karl King. The OSU Symphonic Band, conducted by OSU School of Music professor Scott A. Jones, performed a new edition of composer Karl L. King’s march McKinley’s Own. Video of the performance is available online, with audio of the performance available on the Public Domain Day project website. The new edition, edited by Professor Alan Green and arranged by Scott A. Jones and Craig Levesque, was dedicated to the public domain through the CC0 waiver. The score and parts (imposed) are made available on the Public Domain Day project website.
  • November 4, 2019: Using Public Domain Materials in Your Teaching and Research. This workshop, offered by Copyright Services, provided participants with information and resources for identifying, finding, and using public domain text, images, and other creative works.
  • November 6, 2019: Safety Last! Film screening with the Wexner Center for the Arts. Safety Last!, released in 1923, is a silent film starring Harold Lloyd. This screening at the Wexner Center for the Arts featured a 1989 soundtrack composed by Carl Davis, with orchestration based on the line-up of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra of the 1920s and inspired by popular music of that era. The Ohio State University Libraries’ Silent Film Sheet Music Collection offers a number of musical scores that are arranged for the typical film theatre orchestras of the early 20th century. Three 1923 scores from that collection have been digitized and made available on the Public Domain Day project website. Scores from 1923 include:
    • Clark, C. Frederick, Midnight (Novelty Fox Trot)
    • Coots, J. Fred and Dave Ringle (arr. Ted Eastwood), Home Town Blues
    • Savino, Domenico, Misterioso all Valse (Dramatic Suspense)

On January 1, 2020, we will once again celebrate Public Domain Day. In 2020, we will welcome into the public domain works published in the United States in 1924. To keep up to date on new events offered in 2020 and to read more about the project, visit the Public Domain Day project website at go.osu.edu/Public DomainDay .

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By Maria Scheid, Copyright Services Coordinator at Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries

The Wait is Over! Public Domain Day 2019

What do F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, Buster Keaton, and Jelly Roll Morton all have in common? They all have works that are entering the public domain in the U.S. today on Public Domain Day!

Today is Public Domain Day and this year’s celebration is a special one for those of us in the United States. After a 20-year pause, works published in the United States will once again be entering the public domain on a rolling basis. This year, we welcome works first registered or published in the United States in 1923.

As public domain works, these books, films, compositions, and works of art can be used without copyright restrictions. This means, for example, that instructors can make copies of literary works for their students, ensembles can create new arrangements and publicly perform musical works, and students can adapt and remix works freely into their own projects and assignments. Works in the public domain can be used to encourage and support learning, scholarship, and creative endeavors.

Why the 20-year wait?

Copyright protects many different types of creative works, including books, film, music, and art. And while the U.S. Constitution requires copyright be granted only for “limited Times,” the term of copyright protection has increased over the years. In 1998, Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which extended the term of protection for published works by an additional 20 years. For works published before 1978, this meant a term of protection of 95 years from publication date. We have now reached the point where eligible works are reaching the 95-year mark.

In addition to these published works, we will see certain unpublished works enter the public domain in the U.S. on this day; specifically, unpublished works from authors who died during 1948 and unpublished works created in 1898 for anonymous and pseudonymous authors and works made for hire, and unpublished works when the date of the author’s death is unknown.[1]

Celebrating the Public Domain at OSU

Copyright Services has collaborated with partners across OSU to share public domain works in the University Libraries collections, focusing on musical compositions published or registered in the U.S. in 1923. Tomorrow, January 2, you can visit the Public Domain Day Project website (go.osu.edu/PublicDomainDay) to learn more about the partners involved in this project, the events planned for 2019, our plans for releasing new recordings of select musical works (to be dedicated to the public domain via Creative Commons CC0), and to access music scores and audio. New works will be added throughout 2019.

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By Maria Scheid, Copyright Services Coordinator at Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries

[1] Depending on the work you are dealing with, there may be some additional considerations in determining the copyright status of a work. Two great resources for thinking through copyright term and public domain are the American Library Association’s Public Domain Slider and Peter Hirtle’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States chart.

 

Public Domain Christmas Songs

It’s that time of year when Christmas lights are strung and ugly sweaters are worn. When singing along with your favorite carols have you ever thought of the copyright status behind these famous songs?

Here are nine well known Christmas songs that are in the public domain.

Away in a Manger

Once rumored to have been authored by theologian Martin Luther, this carol made an early appearance in 1882. Originally titled “Luther’s Cradle Song” an anonymous author attributed the song as one Luther wrote for his children. This was dispelled for a number of reasons, and a source states the song may have instead been associated with a celebration for the 400th anniversary of Luther’s birth in 1883. There are two musical settings commonly assigned with the lyrics, one by William J. Kirkpatrick (1895) and the other by James Ramsey Murray (1887). In 1996 it was ranked as the second most popular carol in Britain. The text of the song is based on verses from Luke 2:4-7. Source: Away in a Manger

Deck the Halls

Originally titled Deck the Hall, this is a Welsh melody that dates back to the 16th century. The famous chorus ‘fa la la la la’ may date to the medieval period, while the modern English lyrics were written by Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant in 1862. The melody comes from a traditional Welsh carol “Nos Galan”, a traditional New Year’s Eve ballad. The plural of ‘hall’ was first published in 1892. Source: Deck the Halls Song History

Jingle Bells

Perhaps one of the most well-known Christmas songs, Jingle Bells was originally written for the Thanksgiving season by James Lord Pierpont in 1857. It was copyrighted as One Horse Open Sleigh, but the name was revised when it was published in 1859 as “Jingle Bells, or the One Horse Open Sleigh”. The title comes from the common practice of placing bells on a horse’s harness to avoid collisions because a horse drawn sleigh makes little noise. Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from outer space when two astronauts on Gemini 6 performed the song aboard the spacecraft in 1965 after reporting a sleigh like object in the polar orbit. Source: 8 Things You May Not Know About “Jingle Bells”

Jingle Bells sheet music

Pierpont, J, and J Pierpont. The One Horse Open Sleigh. Oliver Ditson, Boston, monographic, 1857. Notated Music. https://www.loc.gov/item/sm1857.620520/

Silent Night

Translated from the German “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht”, the song was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster, with lyrics by Father Joseph Mohr, in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria in 1818. Bing Crosby’s version is the third bestselling single of all time, and the song was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. Silent Night, as we know it today was translated to English in 1859 by John Freeman Young, an Episcopal priest. Source: Silent Night

Up on the House Top

Written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864, Up on the House Top was considered the first Christmas song to focus primarily on Santa Claus. Sources credit Hanby’s inspiration for the song as Clement C. Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”. The song was originally titled Santa Claus and meant to be performed as a sing along. According to The Christmas Carol Reader it is the second oldest secular Christmas song, only surpassed by Jingle Bells. Source: Up on the Housetop

Toyland

Written for the 1903 operetta Babes in Toyland, the whimsical song features a cast of Mother Goose characters in a magical toy filled land. The lyrics were written by Glenn MacDonough with music by Victor Herbert. The lyrics of the song have no direct ties to Christmas or the holiday season, but the spirit of the song, the happiness toys bring to children, has been associated with Santa Claus. The operetta has been adapted into 4 films of the same title, beginning in 1934 to the most recent animated version in 1997. Source: Babes in Toyland

The Twelve Days of Christmas

One of the most well-known cumulative songs, the carol describes an increasingly grand set of gifts for the twelve days of Christmas, beginning Christmas Day. The song was first published in 1780 without any music, and has a Roud Folk Song Index of 68. The standard tune it is now associated with was derived from a 1909 arrangement by Frederic Austin. In one 19th century variant, the gifts come from “my mother” rather than “my true love”.  PNC Financial annually calculates the total cost of all the gifts presented in the song, and the estimate for 2018 total comes to $39,0094.93. Source: The Twelve Days of Christmas Explained

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

The famous greeting which gives name to the song, “a merry Christmas and a happy New Year” is recorded from 18th century England. The song is a nod to the dynamic between the rich and poor, and describes townspeople parading the steps of the rich calling for figgy pudding and refusing to leave until it was delivered. The modern popularity of the song comes from a Bristol based composer Arthur Warrell, who arranged the song for the University of Bristol Madrigal singers in 1935. The very early history of the carol is unknown; it is notoriously missing from popular song books of the 18th and 19th centuries. Source: We Wish You a Merry Christmas

O Christmas Tree

Also known as O Tannenbaum, O Christmas Tree is a German Christmas song; a tannenbaum is the German word for a fir tree. The modern lyrics were written in 1824, and instead of referring to Christmas, reference the evergreen as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness. The custom of Christmas trees developed throughout the 19th century, and the song became associated with the holiday. The song was famously used in the 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Source: O Christmas Tree: Lyrics and Chords

 

Copyrighted Christmas Songs

Unfortunately the songs listed below are still under copyright protection so we’ll have to wait a little while before they enter the public domain.

Winter Wonderland
Written: 1934
Public Domain: 2030

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Written: 1939
Public Domain: 2035

Frosty the Snowman
Written: 1950
Public Domain: 2046

Jingle Bell Rock
Written: 1957
Public Domain: 2053

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Written: 1958
Public Domain: 2054

Little Saint Nick
Written: 1963
Public Domain: 2059

Holly Jolly Christmas
Written: 1964
Public Domain: 2060

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By Allison DeVito, Copyright Services Specialist at Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries

 

 

 

Back to the Basics with Copyright Law

Today is the 9th anniversary of the Copyright Corner blog, with the first post (Why Copyright Education?) published back in August of 2009. Since then, we’ve had posts covering a wide-range of issues; from copyright protection for patterns and DMCA exemptions to copyright issues faced by units across OSU Libraries and tips on finding a copyright owner. For this post, we are going back to the basics and looking at some of the fundamentals of copyright law in the United States.

Why do we have copyright?

There are a number of theories on the purpose of copyright. Countries may have laws that encompass one or more of these theories.

One common theory for the purpose of copyright is utilitarian. Under this theory, we provide authors a copyright in the works they create as an incentive to create and disseminate new works. The law is organized to promote the collective welfare of society, but recognizes that unless creators can recoup the costs involved in the creation and dissemination of their works, they won’t produce the works. Copyright gives to authors and creators exclusive rights in the works they create, which in turn allows them to suppress competition for a limited time.

Much of U.S. copyright law seems to align with this theory, with Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution granting Congress the power “to Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Rights to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Another theory for the purpose of copyright is the author’s rights theory. Under this theory, the primary purpose of copyright is to recognize and protect the emotional bond between artists and their creations, acknowledging creative works as manifestations and extensions of their author’s personality. Countries whose laws are influenced by this theory may provide moral rights for authors and creators that exist separately from economic rights.

What exactly is copyright and how do you get it?

Copyright is a legal right that allows creators and authors the ability to control certain uses of their works. The owner of a copyright has a number of exclusive rights that are provided under the law (these rights are discussed below).

In the U.S., copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression and copyright exists at the moment of fixation. In other words, copyright protection is automatic.

Including a copyright notice (e.g., © 2018 The Ohio State University) is optional for works created today but there can be some advantages to including a notice on your copyrighted work. And registration with the U.S. Copyright Office? That’s also an optional step that provides some important benefits to copyright holders.

Continue reading

Public Domain Day 2018

It is the beginning of another year, which means the welcoming of new works into the public domain for Public Domain Day 2018. Today, countries around the world will expand their public domain with creative works whose term of copyright protection ended in 2017. As public domain works, these books, films, compositions, and works of art can be copied, shared, and remixed without copyright restrictions.

We have written before about the extension of the term of copyright protection under U.S. law and its impact on our public domain (we’ve also written about the ability of copyright owners to bypass this lengthy wait and dedicate their works to the public domain via Creative Commons CC0). As a result of this extension of copyright and Congress’s decision to apply the extension of copyright protection retroactively to existing works, those of us in the United States will need to wait until January 1, 2019 before we see new published works enter the public domain.

For now, the U.S. public domain will add a much smaller group of works—unpublished works whose author died in 1947 and were not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to 1978.

For an interesting read on some of the published works that are entering the public domain in countries around the world, head over to The Public Domain Review for their picks for the Class of 2018.

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By Maria Scheid, Copyright Services Specialist at Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries

Open Access Week Events

Please join Copyright Services at these upcoming Open Access Week events:

Open Access Week: Copyright Trivia 
October 23 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Do you have what it takes to be crowned Copyright Champion? Join the University Libraries’ Copyright Services for a short introduction to copyright workshop, where you will learn the many important ways copyright law interacts with your daily academic life. Then test your copyright knowledge and compete for glory and prizes in the Copyright Trivia Championships! This event is in celebration of International Open Access Week.

Who: OSU faculty, staff, and students from all disciplines
When: Monday, October 23, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Research Commons, 3rd floor of 18th Avenue Library

Register here: https://library.osu.edu/researchcommons/event/copyright-trivia/ 

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Open Access Week: Considerations and Benefits of Open Access Scholarship 
October 26 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join the University Libraries and the Health Sciences Library for a workshop focused on the theme of this year’s International Open Access Week: “Open in Order to _______________________.”

Open in order to: raise the visibility of your research; increase the impact of your scholarship; and increase access to knowledge.

This workshop will cover the basics of copyright and Open Access, including understanding your rights as an author, sharing your research to a broader audience, publishing in Open Access journals, and funding models and support. Participants will also be invited to explore topics of interest in small facilitated group discussions.

Who: OSU faculty, staff, and students from all disciplines
When: Thursday, October 26, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Research Commons, 3rd floor of 18th Avenue Library

Register here: https://library.osu.edu/researchcommons/event/open-scholarship/

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OSU Open Access Monograph Initiative
October 27 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

The Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) is launching a new initiative to fund Open Access scholarly monographs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. OSUL has committed to funding three $15,000 awards a year for five years. Awards will be provided as subventions to participating university presses. To learn more about this initiative and how to submit a proposal, please attend this information session.

Who: OSU faculty
When: Friday, October 27, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Research Commons, 3rd floor of 18th Avenue Library

Register here: https://library.osu.edu/researchcommons/event/monograph-initiative/

 

 

Copyright in CarmenCanvas Guide: New resource demonstrates best practices for sharing copyrighted content in Carmen courses

Does your course include movies, text, pictures, or audio that you did not create? Are you planning to share materials you created with your students? To help instructors in the creation of their Carmen courses, we’ve put together the Copyright in CarmenCanvas Guide.  It will help readers understand copyright law, specifically in the context of creating Carmen courses.  While it is not legal advice, it is both a wealth of information and a multi-media demonstration of copyright best practices for sharing content through Carmen.

Readers can begin with the syllabus, gaining a topical overview of the information in each module of the Guide.  The modules in the Guide are in order from most open (materials that may be used in a course without copyright limitation), to most restrictive (materials and uses that will require permission from the copyright owner).  Each module begins with an introduction page describing the topics to be discussed in the module.  After the introduction, each page within a module contains an explanation and one or more demonstrations of best practices relevant to the topic at issue.   A listing of helpful resources is also included within each page, for those seeking more information on the topic. The introduction page of the Guide provides additional resources for those who wish to improve their general understanding of copyright and related issues.

Modules do not need to be completed in any particular order.  However, we do encourage readers to explore all the modules to become familiar with the many options available to course creators as they pull content into their courses.

Whether a reader visits one page, or reviews the entire Copyright in CarmenCanvas Guide, it is a great resource for anyone creating courses at The Ohio State University.

Contact our office with additional questions.

Website: go.osu.edu/copyright

Email:  LIBCopyright@osu.edu

Twitter:  @OSUCopyright

Phone:  614-688-5849

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By Maria Scheid, Rights Management Specialist at  Copyright Services, The Ohio State University Libraries

How to Find a Copyright Owner

Between fair use, the TEACH Act (for online education), and Section 108 (for libraries and other cultural heritage institutions), a sizable network of exceptions is built into United States copyright law.  In addition to the ability of users to rely on statutory exceptions for their use of copyrighted works, some copyright owners have already granted permission for certain uses of their works through the adoption of an open license, such as a Creative Commons licensing scheme.  These exceptions and licenses allow many people to use copyrighted materials, thereby informing and enriching their own works.  But what if your potential use of another’s copyrighted work is covered by neither an open license nor an exception?

You may need to contact the copyright holder for permission to use the work.  This entails two separate steps:  First, identifying the copyright holder; and second, writing a request for permission.  The second step may be the easier of the two, with template letters and drafting advice available from numerous sources.  The Copyright Resources Center has a page on our website dedicated to requesting permission:  go.osu.edu/permission.

However, identifying and locating a copyright holder can be a complex endeavor.  Because copyright is transferrable, the original author or creator of a work may not be the current copyright holder.  For example, an author or creator of a work may choose to transfer their copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher, during their lifetime. If the creator held the copyright until they died, the copyright may have passed to an heir or beneficiary.  And in some situations, even if the copyright was not transferred, the creator of a work may not hold the copyright because the work is a work for hire.  In that instance, the business, University, or other entity that employed the creator of the work when the work was created may be the holder of the copyright.  This post will walk through some important questions to ask when trying to locate a copyright holder and provide some good ideas regarding who should be your first contact.   Continue reading

Public Domain Day 2017

Today on January 1st, we celebrate Public Domain Day—the day each year where works enter the public domain for many countries around the world following the expiration of their term of copyright protection.

Public domain works are works free of copyright restrictions; works capable of being freely reproduced, shared, and built upon by users. As we have discussed on this blog before, a robust public domain supports the underlying purpose of U.S. copyright law to promote the progress of knowledge and learning.[1]

But while many counties will see new works added to the public domain this year, there will be no published works entering the public domain in the United States. In fact, no published works will be added to the public domain in the United States until 2019.

Why the delay? The U.S. Constitution states that copyright protections may exist only for “limited times,” but our copyright law has been amended several times to extend the length of the term of protection. Under our first federal copyright statute, copyright protection lasted for an initial term of 14 years, renewable for another 14 years. The current term of protection for copyrighted works is the lifetime of the author plus an additional 70 years. As a result of this extension of copyright and Congress’s decision to apply the extension of copyright protection retroactively to existing works, works published in the United States from 1923 to 1977 will remain protected for 95 years after their date of publication. This means that works we would normally expect to enter the public domain today (i.e., published works whose author died in 1946) will not enter the public domain until much later.

For more information on Public Domain Day and works entering the public domain in other countries this year, visit:

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By Maria Scheid, Rights Management Specialist at the Copyright Resources Center, The Ohio State University Libraries

 

[1] For this reason, authors today may chose to dedicate their work to the public domain through means such as the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedicator (CC0) tool rather than wait for the term of copyright protection to expire.

How to Negotiate a Publication Agreement

Dealing with a publisher may be intimidating, but a little work at the beginning of the publishing journey can eliminate work later.  A publication agreement spells out what rights are being requested via transfer or license from the copyright holder to the publisher.  The rights granted to a publisher can impact your future rights in your work.  If you would like to distribute copies of your work or even reuse it as part of future research, instruction, or professional development, then you may need to negotiate with your publisher.  To get ready for those negotiations, read on!

 

#1 – Educate yourself

Knowing your rights as an author under U.S. copyright law can help you understand the strength of your position when negotiating your publication agreement.  The bundle of rights encompassed by the word “copyright” goes far beyond just making copies of a work and includes the rights to:  reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute the work, publicly perform the work, and publicly display the work.  To get educated and know your rights, we recommend starting with the Copyright Basics and Author’s Rights pages of our website.  They will give you an overview of what copyright is and is not and provide links to additional information.

 

#2 – Know what you want

The second step is knowing what rights you would like to keep.  Many publishers prefer a complete transfer of copyright or an exclusive license.  This allows the publisher to use the work however they deem necessary for publication.  Do you want to share your work when teaching courses?  Do you want to retain the right to translate your work into other languages, or turn it into a movie?  A copyright transfer means that the author, now former copyright holder, may be contractually bound in how they may or may not reuse the work.  Additionally, they may not be able to use the work without a statutory exception or permission from the publisher. Think about how you might use your work in the future, and what rights you should keep to allow those activities.  Then, move on to the next step.

 

#3 – Read your contract

Read your publishing agreement.  While there are any number of variations on publication rights, there are some that publishers typically use.  The three examples below are prevalent among academic publishers.  They are: (i) a complete transfer of copyright to the publisher; (ii) a complete transfer of copyright to the publisher, with an immediate license granted to the author; and (iii) a license given to the publisher, with the author retaining copyright.

 

3A – Transfer of Copyright

This is the most restrictive publishing agreement: You give up your copyright entirely.  The American Medical Association (AMA) requests this type of transfer in a publishing agreement for their journals and newsletters.  The agreement transfers the copyright in a work, in its entirety, to the AMA using the following language:

I hereby transfer, assign, or otherwise convey all copyright ownership, including any and all rights incidental thereto, exclusively to the AMA….

After signing such an agreement, you would be very limited in what you could do with your work.  You would not be able to make copies of your work for teaching or give a reading from your work without permission from the publisher or a statutory copyright exemption.

 

3B – Transfer of Copyright, with License to Author

Some publication agreements transfer copyright in its entirety to the publisher and immediately grant the author limited license(s) to use the work in specific ways.  The American Library Association (ALA) uses this model in a Copyright Assignment Agreement.  After using language similar to that in 3A to obtain full copyright from the author, the ALA goes on to provide the author a limited license:

Publisher hereby grants Author a royalty-free, limited license for the following purposes, provided the Work is always identified as having first been published by Publisher:

  • The right to make and distribute copies of all or part of the Work for use in teaching; …
  • The right to make oral presentations of material from the Work; …

If the uses allowed by the publication agreement cover all the ways you foresee using your work, then this agreement may work for you.

 

3C – Publisher Receives a License, Author Retains Copyright

If the language in your publishing agreement isn’t asking for a complete copyright transfer, it is likely asking you to give the publisher a license.  The Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) requests a license in order to publish accepted articles in the journal.  The pertinent language in their “Nonexclusive Publication Agreement” is below:

…we need from every author whose work is to appear in JMLR certain nonexclusive licenses…. You hereby give to MIT Press the right to be the first publisher of the article in print form…. You hereby give to the Sponsor the right to be the first publisher of the article in electronic form.

MIT Press is asking for a nonexclusive[1] license, which means that you can exercise your rights as copyright owner without asking for permission from JMLR.   Be prepared to inform any subsequent publishers about prior publications.

 

#4 – Negotiations

Based on the type of publication agreement you received, you may have to adjust your expectations of what can be negotiated.  A publisher requesting a copyright transfer is less likely to allow an author to keep copyright and grant the publisher a limited license.  When setting your expectations, it may be helpful to ask others who have worked with your publisher about their experiences.  This is particularly true if they tried, successfully or not, to negotiate their agreement. Some Universities have created resources to help authors negotiate their rights.  In particular, the Universities of the Big 10 Academic Alliance have created an Addendum that authors can use when negotiating with their publisher.  This addendum works to preserve rights that academic authors commonly wish to keep, all of which look towards removing restrictions from the flow of information and allowing a freer exchange of ideas.

 

#5 – Make all edits/changes in writing

Whenever copyright is transferred, it must be in writing and signed.  One small exception is that a nonexclusive license does not require a signature.  In addition, it is recommended that you keep records of your negotiations with the publisher.  Note the date you send your request for modification, how you send it (email, postal service, inter-office mail), when you get a response, and of course what the response is.  An email will fulfill the requirement for a writing, so be sure to always review your emails before you hit “send”.  If you orally negotiate a change in your publication agreement, get those changes in writing.  Take extensive notes, summarize your notes in an email, and send it to the publisher with a request that they confirm the information is correct.

 

Conclusion

The opportunity to negotiate is always available.  The publisher may not agree to all of your requests, but asking can ensure that you retain important rights in your work and save you from hassle down the road.  Knowing your rights, and which of those rights a publisher is requesting, can help assess a publication agreement and determine what changes, if any, you would like to make.  Taking copious notes, and always getting any changes to a publication agreement in writing, will make your negotiations enforceable and truly protect your ability to use your work.

If there is any confusion over what a publication agreement is requesting, check out Phrases to Look for in Publisher Copyright Agreement Forms.  For questions on your rights or your publication agreement, feel free to reach out to the Copyright Resources Center by posting a comment here on the blog, tweeting at us (@OSUCopyright), or sending us an email.

Have you negotiated a publication agreement?  Were you successful in getting the changes you requested?  Let us know what your experience was like by leaving us a comment!

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By Marley C. Nelson, Rights Management Specialist, and Sandra A. Enimil, Head of the Copyright Resources Center, The Ohio State University Libraries.

 

[1] A nonexclusive license is a contract that allows a copyright owner to grant another party the ability to exercise one of the bundle of rights contained in copyright, while retaining the ability to simultaneously exercise that right.  These licenses are at times given for a limited length of time.  An exclusive license grants another party the ability to exercise one or all of the rights contained in copyright, but does not allow the copyright owner to simultaneously exercise those rights.  An unlimited exclusive license has little, aside from its name, to distinguish it from a full transfer of copyright.

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