New tool helps authors claim their copyrights back from publishers (even "perpetual assignments")

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Maybe if authors would wipe the fairy dust out of their eyes and look at the things they sign and back off from one-sided agreements, this would be a lot simpler.

People are so eager to see their name in print or think they have the next Best Seller that they go gaga and turn off their common sense when it is even hinted that a publisher might graciously produce their book and maybe, just maybe, give them a coupe of dollars.

Those contracts exist because people don’t back and say “*** no, let’s see something a bit more equitable”.

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No, that’s really not it.

Academics need to be published in peer-reviewed journals in order to get professorships and attain tenure. That is the vast, vast majority of full assignment/no reversion contracts.


Unless it is a matter of law, they can negotiate or “gang up”, that’s what unions of one sort or another are for. Get enough people to suspend submissions for a couple of months and maybe Elsevier and some others would get more reasonable.

Most people choose short term profit of whatever sort over long term goals or working together to improve everyone’s lot down the line even if it would benefit the individual directly in the long run. We’re a short sighted lot as a species.

The peers doing the reviewing could form a publication with better copyright standards for the entire discipline. The barriers to producing a publication of any sort are just not that high these days.

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You do realize that there are many academics who live and work in the American south, where that’s not much of an option with risking losing our jobs - especially in the humanities, where there is a serious job crunch. Professional organizations can act as advocates, but given that academic publishers help to fund such organizations, that can only go so far.


Oh please. I have a chapter in a book in perpetual copyright, the workshop for which we wrote it was run by NATO and they (NATO) had a contract with Kluwer. We didn’t have a choice, other than not run the workshop.

I’m currently editor-in-chief of a journal which publishes under CC. It is hard as hell to create a quality journal and keep it running, requiring a considerable amount of unpaid work on the part of many people. With all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about.


How to be a millionaire and be happy for the rest of your life

  1. Get a million dollars

— M Brooks?

I have been saying for years that this is the only way to get older academic works into open access. Since academic authors aren’t getting any royalties in the first place, and wouldn’t if they terminated the transfer, not many are likely to do this unless the Universities tried to get them to do this. Because it would be nice to get a new contract with the old publisher that granted NON-EXCLUSIVE rights to distribute the articles. Of course in this day and age, I think that it is more likely that the Universities would claim that the articles were “works made for hire” and therefore that the University itself was the “author” for copyright purposes. IMHO that isn’t nearly as settled bit of law as people seem to believe.

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