Writer’s block and author anxiety are common when one begins to prepare their scholarly research and writing. Perhaps there are too many irons in the fire between teaching, research, civic engagement, and family. Or this might be one’s first step into publishing. Steely Library’s IPAC has the onsite resources (and community contacts) to help scholars, as well as others, acquire knowledge about intellectual property to cultivate their research, creativity, and innovation. The IPAC collaborates with Steely Library's Scholarly Communications Department too. Our Scholarly Communications Department seeks to engage NKU faculty and researchers in opportunities which facilitate the sharing, reuse, and dissemination of their scholarship.
So what may be copyrighted? Literary works, musicals works and lyrics, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, sound recordings and other digital media, and architectural works may all be copyrightable. Scholarly and other intellectual works are copyright protected as soon as the work is in a fixed medium, e.g. paper or digital. Copyright begins as the moment of creation and subsists for the life of the author plus 70 years.
What may not be copyrighted? Works NOT fixed in a medium, facts, ideas, dates, names, short phrases, U.S. government documents, and works that have fallen into the public domain may not be copyrightable. However, some of these types of works may meet the criteria for a trademark or a patent.
If you are planning to publish a scholarly journal article, book, or other digital media, you should be aware that you are most likely going to sign a publisher contract. Often publishers want writers to relinquish some of their copyrights. When you sign such a contract, it may deprive your author rights to post your own work on the Web, share articles with colleagues, or even prepare copies for your classroom instructional use. Publisher permission may be required to use your own work after it has been published.
U.S. Copyright Law provides authors with the following rights:
Authors should actively manage their copyright to retain all or part of their rights associated with copyright when dealing with publishers. It is possible to transfer copyright and also retain some rights for reuse. “It is essential that individual scholars maintain some control over their copyrights. Universities should encourage individual faculty to sign publishing contracts that, while giving journal publishers certain rights, maintain (at minimum) the author’s right to post published articles on open archives.” —Bergstrom & Rubinfeld, “Alternative Economic design for academic publishing,” in Dreyfuss, et al., eds., Working Within the Boundaries of Intellectual Property: Innovation Policy For The Knowledge Society (Oxford University Press: New York), 2010.
The University of Wisconsin – Madison Libraries, offers relevant copyright management tips entitled, Scholarly Communication and Publishing: Copyright:
Source: University of Wisconsin – Madison Libraries, Scholarly Communication and Publishing: Copyright, http://library.wisc.edu/scp/copyright/
SPARC http://sparc.arl.org/ (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is an Author Rights Initiative which also provides essential publishing rights guidelines for scholarly authors:
Open access and public domain type services and resources generally do not require transfer of copyright. Open access models, such as Creative Commons, are often highly supportive of scholarly publishing. See Creative Commons section of this site for more.