Friday, May 22, 2015

Author copyright in name only

The Elsevier website provides language illustrating clearly how author copyright can be virtually identical to a copyright transfer.

From the Elsevier Copyright page, under For Open Access Articles:

Authors sign an exclusive license agreement, where authors have copyright but license exclusive rights in their article to the publisher**. In this case authors have the right to:
  • Share their article in the same ways permitted to third parties under the relevant user license (together with Personal Use rights) so long as it contains a CrossMark logo, the end user license, and a DOI link to the version of record on ScienceDirect.
  • Retain patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including raw research data).
  • Proper attribution and credit for the published work.
**This includes the right for the publisher to make and authorize commercial use, please see the "Rights granted to Elsevier" tab for more details.


The copyright may be in the author's name, but clearly the author has signed away all rights. The only rights that remain for the author are those "permitted to third parties". The author has become a third party with respect to their own work.

Patent, trademark and other IP rights are not part of copyright. It is deceptive for Elsevier to post these here as if Elsevier had these rights to grant.

This post is part of the Creative Commons and Open Access Critique series.