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Copyright Guide: Authors' Rights

This guide describes copyright law and how it applies to the use of academic and scholarly work at Columbus State University.

Why Authors' Rights are Important

In today's publishing world, it is very easy for an author to lose copyright of his works when signing publisher author agreements.  In fact, most author agreements require that creators sign away all of their copyrights to the publisher.

Signing such agreements has very negative impacts on the author's reuse of his works.  In most cases, after signing away his copyrights, the author can no longer use the work to make derivative works from it.  The author cannot upload this work to a green open access repository or on social media sites, such as and ResearchGate.  He also cannot share his work with colleagues or students and in all cases, the publisher has right to reuse the work in anyway that it sees fit.  The author has lost all legal control of the work.

For more information, see the Author's Rights guide from Cornell University

Author Rights Addendum

Authors' Rights Explained

The Copyright Law

Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Law defines the limited exclusive rights of the copyright holder as being the ability to:

  1. Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies of phonorecords;
  2. Prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
  3. Distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending;
  4. In case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
  5. In the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
  6. In the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission

What this means is that creators of original works have the right to reproduce the works, make copies of the works, revise the works, perform the works and receive monetary gain from them.

Creative Commons License