Under U.S. law, any work a person creates in a fixed medium (including digital files) is the intellectual property of that person. As such, the author owns the copyright to the work, which grants them the rights to publish, use, transform, reproduce, perform, and distribute that property or to transfer those rights to another party.
Understanding these rights is important for every author. Once certain rights are signed away, the author no longer has any control over what is done with their work. The resources on this page have been compiled to help faculty and researchers understand their rights as authors and retain any they wish to keep.
Some publishers may be open to negotiating certain rights with their authors, from the right to distribute a free version of the work in a repository all the way up to full copyright. The following tools and language may be useful for authors hoping to retain particular rights to their work, and should be attempted before signing any publishing contract.
Tools to help authors get their rights returned to them.