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Copyright guidance and information for the Franklin University community

Who Owns the Copyright?

Generally, an author initially owns the copyright of the works they create. [In some circumstances, such as works created in the course of an employee's employment, the work may be a "work for hire" where the copyright is held by the employer.]

For faculty/employees of Franklin University, "course materials" are considered works for hire (and the University holds the copyright). However, faculty/employees retain the copyright to "academic works" such as books and articles, or other types of work that do not constitute course materials.1

Doctoral students retain the copyright to their dissertation. (As do other students to any works they create.) However, doctoral students are required to deposit their thesis in the OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertation Center, which will make it available in the following repositories:

Additionally, if the corresponding author of an article is affiliated with Franklin University, they may be able to publish their article as an Open Access article in Wiley or Cambridge University Press journals due to OhioLINK's deal with these publishers. For more information, see Open Access Publishing through OhioLINK on our OER research guide.

Footnote 1:

How Do I Copyright My Work?

In the United States, under current law, copyright is automatically applied when you create your work - it applies once your work is "fixed in any tangible medium of expression . . . from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated."1

You do not need to apply any formalities such as registration or putting the © symbol. While there may be some benefits to having registered your work if someone infringes your copyright and you wish to pursue legal remedies, and using the © has the advantage of letting people know that the work is copyrighted and who the copyright holder is, neither is required.

Footnote 1:

What are my rights as an author?

Under 17 U.S.C. §106, the owner of a copyright has certain exclusive rights to the use of the copyrighted material, including the rights (1) "to reproduce" the work; (2) "to prepare derivative works"; (3) "to distribute copies"; (4) "to perform" the work; (5) "to display the copyrighted work publicly"; and (6) to perform "sound recordings . . . publicly by means of a digital audio transmission." 2

Footnote 2:

Publishing Contracts / Transferring Copyright

Although you initially own the copyright for your works, copyright can be transferred.

Before you sign a publication agreement, be sure to read over the agreement to know what rights you are giving up. Be careful about giving up rights -- for example, if you transfer your rights you may lose the ability to post your work in the LMS for students to use.

Make sure you do not give up rights you want to keep, and try to limit the grant to what the publisher needs to publish. You can negotiate with the publisher regarding the rights you give up / future use you can make of a work. You may have to evaluate whether you want to give up the rights required by the publisher in order to have the work published.

After you sign the publication agreement, keep a copy for your records. If you want to use the work in the future (or give someone else the right to use your work), you will need to know what rights you retained and what rights you gave to the publisher.

You can also look at the journal's website to see if it provides information regarding what rights authors who publish in the journal retain.

An additional resource for finding journal copyright policies is to look at the SHERPA/ROMEO website linked below. You can search by journal to see if a journal's policies are listed.

Is The Publisher Trustworthy?

Video: Author Rights in Scholarly Publishing

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