Copyright is automatic and protects both published and unpublished original works.
Often when an author publishes they sign a copyright transfer agreement or a publishing agreement. In a copyright transfer agreement you typically will sign over the full copyright to the publisher.
The agreement may allow you to retain such rights, but you no longer hold copyright. You likely won't be able to do the following:
It is very possible that you would be violating copyright on your own article. Be sure to read your agreement to know your rights and negotiate the agreement.
You know what you write, but do you know your rights?
Know your rights before you sign a publishing agreement!
This UC Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) page discusses what to look out for in a copyright transfer agreement, what to look out for in your journal publishing contracts, and your options.
We can’t give you legal advice, but we can help you understand issues and find more resources. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publishers only need a license to publish, not your full copyright. By negotiating your publishing agreements you can retain more of your rights as an author.
See our guide with model licenses and addendum info for articles, books, and other digital scholarship.