Copyright Support

Author's Rights

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Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act gives the following exclusive rights to the copyright owner:

  • Exclusive reproduction
  • Prepare derivative works
  • Distribution of your works
  • Public performance
  • Public display
  • Modification of the original work

 These rights are transferable and can be bought or sold; they also can be transferred or assigned.

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It is important for you to know and understand your publisher’s policies in respect to subsequent access to your work. Once a publisher agrees to publish, there may be restrictions in how and when you may share, archive, or use/distribute your work. Publisher websites will usually have pre- and post-print archiving policies clearly stated. For open access journals, the following resources will help you understand and evaluate the different options available for publishing. More questions? Email  


Publishers offer contracts and authors agreements that vary in the amount of exclusive rights that are transferred or retained. In some cases all rights are transferred to the publisher while in others a portion of rights may be retained or licensed back to the author. The following resources and examples will help you to properly evaluate a contract in relation to your rights as an author. More questions? Email


Sample contracts:

The 1976 Copyright Act holds that “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” and created or produced after January 1, 1978 automatically have copyright protection. Copyright protection is granted both to published and unpublished works.

Copyright protection is not the same as copyright registration. Registration is a separate process requiring an application, fees, and a non-refundable deposit of the work to the U.S. Copyright Office. For information on registering a work for copyright, visit the U.S. Copyright Office’s Forms Section. Registration is not required for copyright, but it is necessary should the rights holder seek statutory damages and lawyer fees in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Authors agreeing to publish are not always required to sign away all of their rights. Publisher agreements specify what rights are transferred and what rights may be retained. Using an author addendum can modify the agreement and help you specify which exclusive rights (stated in Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Code) to retain.

Authors have multiple ways to control access to their own works. They can place their works into the public domain, grant certain permissions through Creative Commons licensing, or retain certain rights in agreements with publishers. Here are some useful resources to help guide you in matters of licensing.


There are endless resources related to Author Rights, yet, below are some essential texts, platforms and tools that can further assist you.