Copyright Assignment Agreement

A Copyright Assignment Agreement assigns all rights and interests in a copyright to another. It contains the title of the copyright, a detailed description of the work, and any sums paid for the assignment.

  • A copyright transfer agreement is a legal document containing provisions for the conveyance of full or partial copyright from the rights owner to another party. It is similar to contracts signed between authors and publishers but does not normally involve the payment of remuneration or royalties. Such agreements are a key element of subscription-based academic publishing, and have been said to facilitate the handling of copyright-based permissions in print-only publishing. In the age of electronic communication, the benefits of copyright transfer agreements have been questioned, and while they remain the norm, open licenses as used in open access publishing have been established as an alternative.
  • Copyright transfer agreements became common in the publishing business after the Copyright Act of 1976 in the United States and similar legislation in other countries redefined copyright as accruing to the author from the moment of creation (rather than publication) of a work. This required publishers to acquire copyrights from the author in order to sell the works or access to it, and written statements signed by the rights owner became necessary in order for the copyright transfer to be considered valid.
  • The situation in which authors hold the copyright usually involves considerable effort in the form of correspondence and record keeping and often leads to unnecessary delays. Although this may appear to be trivial for a few requests, a good scholarly journal publishing exciting papers can expect several hundred requests per year; a task of this magnitude can become onerous. On the other hand, if the Journal holds the copyright, requests, value judgments, and permissions can be handled expeditiously to the satisfaction of all concerned.
  • Copyright transfer agreements also ask that the authors confirm to actually own the copyright for all the materials pertaining to a given act of publishing, and that the item for which the copyright is to be transferred has not been previously published and is not under consideration to be published elsewhere, to limit the frequency of duplicate publication and plagiarism.
  • Copyright transfer agreements are usually prepared by the publisher, and some print journals include a copy of the statement in every issue they published.

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