Publishing your work

UNE staff should note that, under the terms of the University's Knowledge Assets and Intellectual Property Policy, books and other scholarly works which University staff wish to publish must be disclosed to the University and approved for publication as designated in the appropriate discipline area.

Assigning copyright

It is important to consider carefully any publisher's agreement or contract before you sign it, as you may be giving away rights unnecessarily. Publishing your work often requires you to assign your copyright to someone else, usually a publisher. Unless otherwise negotiated, if you assign the copyright in your work to a publisher, you may lose all copyrights. In fact, you may later find yourself in a position where you must seek copyright clearance from the publisher in order to use your work elsewhere, such as in your teaching, and you may even be required to pay a fee for that use.

You should ask your legal advisor to check the terms and conditions of any publishing contract before you sign, and make sure you understand the implications of these terms.

A useful starting point to find out about current default publishers' copyright transfer agreements is available at SHERPA RoMEO.  Authors wanting to find out how to go about retaining some rights when they publish, will find advice at SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition.

Any publishing contracts you have previously signed should be kept on file - ask your publisher for a copy. If you wish to use your work in a new way, such as include it in the University's Institutional Research Repository or other emerging forms of online scholarly publishing, you will need to check the terms and conditions of the contract. It may be that you need to ask the publisher for permission for this new use.

Note: Moral rights remain with a creator, even if copyright has been assigned to someone else.

Licensing your copyright

By licensing your work instead of assigning your copyright to someone else, you can retain control of your copyright ownership. You should seek legal advice before licensing your copyright.

Copyright can be licensed in various ways:

Exclusive licence

Under an exclusive licence, only the licensee may use work in the way covered by the licence. Granting an exclusive licence to publish your book, for example, means you are not entitled to license anyone else to publish the same book during the period of the licence.

Non-exclusive licence

A non-exclusive licence can give you more control of your work. For example, if you granted a non-exclusive licence to a publisher to reproduce a photograph, you may also grant other publishers the same non-exclusive licence, and you may reproduce the photograph yourself.

Implied licence

In some cases, permission from a copyright owner to use copyright material may be implied from the circumstances. 'Letters to the editor' are published in newspapers on this basis. You should take steps to ensure that the publisher does not go ahead and publish your work on the basis of an implied licence, if you submit your work to a publisher on a speculative basis. This can be achieved by including a covering letter to the publisher, explaining that the work is submitted for the publisher's consideration only and that terms of publication will be negotiated if the publisher is interested in the work.

Self publishing

A Creative Commons licence can assist you by giving you a framework to dictate how others may use your work.

Self Publishing sites such as Lulu allow you to self publish and retain all the rights in your work.

Collection of royalties

As a copyright owner, you may want to consider becoming a member of a copyright collecting society such as the Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL), Screenrights or Viscopy. These societies represent the owners of copyright and license or administer certain uses of copyright material. They also collect and distribute fees for the use of copyright works, so it may benefit you financially to be a member. Membership is usually free.

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