According to the law, copyright is granted to authors upon expressing their ideas in a "tangible form". Therefore, authors have the following rights protected by the Copyright Law stated in the Constitution:
- The exclusive rights of reproduction
- Public performance
- Public display
- Modification of the original work.
The author retains these exclusive rights up until the moment the author signs a written agreement to transfer some or all of these exclusive rights. A transfer of any exclusive right is truly exclusive—once transferred the author may no longer exercise that right.
As a scholar or scientist, when you publish in a journal you are typically asked by the publisher to sign such a transfer agreement, or contract, that describes the assignment of various rights to the publisher in the intellectual property you have created. Thus, the agreements often deprive you of certain rights that you may not wish to forfeit, such as your right to post your article on the public Internet or to make copies for classroom use. To take advantage of the greater opportunity now available to communicate your research results, you need to hold these rights for the articles you produce.
Resources for Author Rights: