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Copyright and Fair Use: Author Rights

Resources to help with questions of copyright and fair use in an academic setting.


U.S. Copyright law gives the author of an original work, such as a scholarly article, the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, adapt, publicly perform, and publicly display the work.....until you sign a written agreement to transfer some or all of these rights.  

Know Your Rights!

SPARC Author Rights Brochure

This brochure from SPARC gives a concise explantion of:

  • Your rights as an author
  • How to scrutinize a publication agreement
  • What to do if the publisher rejects the author addendum
  • How to use the SPARC author addendum

Finding Rights-Friendly Publishers


SHERPA/RoMEO is a service run by SHERPA to show the copyright and open access self-archiving policies of academic journals. The database uses a colour‐coding scheme to classify publishers according to their self‐archiving policy. This shows authors whether the journal allows preprint or postprint archiving in their copyright transfer agreements. It currently holds records for over 22,000 journals

Author Rights in 2 Minutes

This video explains how researchers can maximize exposure and dissemination for their peer-reviewed article manuscripts. Produced by the Institute on Scholarly Communication in association with SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). 

Publication/Copyright Agreements

Attach an author addendum to your publishing agreement in order to specify which rights you want to retain as the author.

Here are some templates and online tools to help you generate a personalized addendum. 


Need Help?

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Jenny Mills