Copyright and licenses

Copyright can be used to lock-up content or to free it – here we discuss freeing it! Licenses can provide the appropriate tools for this.

  • The Statute of Anne was the first statute (1709). The full title was: “An act for the encouragement of learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned”.
  • Whereas copyright was meant for encouraging creation and education, it is now the basis for business for many pubishers.
  • The author as the creator of a work is always the rights owner, unless otherwise agreed with employee or publisher.
  • Most authors sign away their rights to their publisher.
  • Signing away is a legal procedure that cannot be drawn back.
Open Access and copyright
  • In Open Access the copyright stays with the author.
  • Instead of signing the rights away, the author licenses the publisher to publish (in Open Access) and to distribute the work.
  • The author can choose to deposit the article in an Institutional Repository.
Creative Commons CC-BY: a best practice license for Open Access
  • We believe the best practise license for Open Access is the CC-BY license which lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
  • This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. (
  • Open Access Publishers that encourage and recommend their authors via journal policies to publish articles with a CC-BY license receive the SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals when they also submit the metadata of the articles to the DOAJ.
Big Deals
  • The so called Big Deal is a contract model in which publishers grant academic libraries the electronic access to most or all their journals at a substantial discount to retail subscription rates. In the current situation Big Deals include subscription journals and thus users have access via campus-licences.
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