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Author Rights

Your Author Rights

  • You own what you create. As the author of a work you are automatically the copyright holder. Copyright registration is not required.
  • You retain your copyright unless you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement, such as a journal publisher.
  • The copyright holder controls the work. 
  • Transferring copyright doesn't have to be "all or nothing." You can negotiate publishing agreements, or utilize licenses that allow you to retain your copyright while allowing others to use you work in certain ways. 
  • Giving your copyright to a publisher could hinder your future uses of your work.

Creative Commons Licenses

With a Creative Commons license you keep your copyright, but communicate to others how they can use your work.

For example:

Are you fine with someone using your work for any purpose (classroom teaching, translation, sharing online), but don't want them to be able to use it commercially? CC-BY-NC is the right license for you.

Do you want to allow others to copy, distribute, remix, or perform your work without restrictions? Use CC-BY!

Perhaps you're fine with your research being copied, distributed, and shared, but don't want it to be translated or used for commercial purposes. Then CC-BY-ND is the right license for you.

This Creative Commons license generator will help you choose what Creative Commons license you need.

Publishing Contract Negotiations

Traditionally authors signed all their rights away with a copyright transfer agreement, but you don't need to give away your rights as an author. Publishers only need the first right of publication. This means that authors can retain their rights to legally:

  • use your work in class
  • display a copy on your website
  • distribute a copy to colleagues or at conferences
  • use your work in future projects

To retain your rights, create an amendment by adding a Scholar's Copyright Addendum to your publishing contract.

Library Search/Retrieval Options


UW Libraries QuickSearch: includes the collections of the University Libraries, UW Law Library, and the American Heritage Center.


Prospector: a unified catalog of twenty-three academic, public and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. UW students, faculty and staff can borrow materials from Prospector.



yellow arrow on a sky blue boxInterlibrary Loan: UW students, faculty and staff can request books, journal volumes, journal articles and other materials, regardless of whether it is available in the UW Libraries, online or in libraries around the world. A free service!