86 · Representative Documents: Author’s Rights
Retaining Author Rights
Retaining Author Rights |BYU Copyright Licensing Office
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Retaining Author Rights
Congratulations! Someone wants to publish your work.
That is always thrilling, but in the rush of excitement
don’t give away more rights than you should. Some
authors think that the publishing agreement is a take-
it-or-leave-it kind of thing, but many aspects of the
agreement can be negotiated
Why Care?
Often restrictive publishing agreements transfer copyright ownership or grant an exclusive license
to the publisher. This can prevent you or BYU from using your work in many useful ways, such as
(1) making copies for teaching, (2) posting portions of your work on personal or BYU web sites or
other online repositories, or (3) using your work in other research activities within a fast-changing
technological environment.
You gain desired flexibility and freedom to make your work more widely available by protecting
rights to your intellectual work. Clarify before you sign the agreement.
Who Owns the Work?
As the author of a work, you are the copyright owner until you transfer copyright ownership in
writing to someone else. At BYU, unless substantial university resources are used, you become the
copyright owner of your authored works. To view the Intellectual Property Policy for BYU, visit
copyright.byu.edu/ippolicy (requires NetID and password).
Before you sign on the dotted line:
1. Contemplate: What are the possible present and future uses of your work?
While many publishing agreements grant most rights to the publisher, the publisher may not need
all rights they sometimes seek. They may agree, once you bring it to their attention, that you
should be allowed to reserve certain rights. Request the rights that both you and BYU need. At a
minimum seek to retain the rights to use your work for classroom use, distance teaching, lectures,
seminars, BYU online repositories, other scholarly works, and professional activities.
2. Review the agreement: What does it allow or not allow?
Carefully review the section of the publishing agreement titled Author’s Rights or a similar
section. The Copyright Licensing Office canl help you review a publication agreement. You can
also visit copyright.byu.edu/rights for information on retaining the rights to your work. Sample
license addendums A and B with suggested wording are provided on the web site.
3. Negotiate: What rights do you need for personal and institutional use?
Do not be afraid to negotiate! More and more authors are successfully reserving the rights to use
their works for themselves and their institutions through open discussion and negotiation.
Propose inclusion of the author’s addendum as found at copyright.byu.edu/specific or
After you sign:
1. Confirm the publisher’s acceptance of any changes to the agreement.
The publisher should approve the changes you make otherwise there is no “meeting of the
minds.” The agreement is valid only when it is written and signed by both parties.
Page Contents
Why Care?
Who Owns the Work?
Brochure Available
Presentations and Additional
Information for implementing NIH
Public Access Policy
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