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Published on Nov 14, 2008
SURFdirect, SURF's digital rights expert community, has produced a short film on Author rights, your rights.
In a short film (2,5 minute) Dirk Visser, Professor of intellectual property law at Leiden University and Martijn Katan, Professor of Nutrition at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, both in the Netherlands, make a point of copyright being author rights. Therefore the author must always carefully consider whether it is a good idea to transfer his or her copyright to a publisher, and in most cases this is not a good idea and even unnecessary. More and more publishers see reason and accept that a complete transfer of rights cannot be demanded from authors.
Many academic authors believe it is necessary to transfer their copyright to the publisher when they publish a scientific article. This however, is not the case. Copyright is something that lies with the author, and that the author can dispose of as he or she sees fit. The author can choose to transfer his copyright to the publisher, but this often leads to him not being able to do what he wants with his work. He does not have to do this. An author can also authorize the publisher to publish his work by using a licence. With this licence a publisher can publish as usual and if necessary still take measures against illegal copy making. For the author a licence means that he retains the right to publish his work somewhere else, for example freely accessible on the internet, or on a department's website, or an improved version in a different medium.