Authors own the copyright in their works unless some or all of those rights are transferred through a license. Many publishers request a full copyright transfer, but authors do have options other than giving up their copyright ownership entirely.
Authors can negotiate with publishers to retain certain rights. Some rights authors may want to retain include:
If you transferred your copyright to the publisher, your right to re-use the content in teaching and publication or to make the work openly available online may be restricted. To determine your rights, take the following steps:
This guide created by the Authors Alliance identifies clauses that frequently appear in publishing contracts, explains in plain language what these terms (and typical variations) mean, and presents strategies for negotiating “author-friendly” versions of these clauses. When authors have more information about copyright and publication options for their works, they are better able to make and keep their works available in the ways they want.
This Authors Alliance guide helps authors understand rights reversion, or the process by which a publisher returns copyright to the author. Is a book you published not selling like it used to or not being made available in a format you would like? Maybe it has fallen out of print or is no longer being marketed by the publisher, or you would like to make it openly available online. Use this guide to determine if you are eligible for rights reversion, request rights reversion from your publisher, and work with your publisher to revive your book without reverting rights.