Today is Copyright Transfer Agreement Day!
February 25, 2012
Hurrah for the Copyright Transfer Agreement, that happy convention that frees us authors from the wearisome encumbrance that is owning the copyright to our own work. Back when I was young and foolish, I used to think that it was a good thing for us to hold our own copyrights; but fortunately I was put right by Kent Anderson of the Scholarly Echo Chamber blog:
Most authors want their reports published, and then want to move on, assured that their publisher has the ability to defend their works in perpetuity (or close to it). Copyright transfer allows this. Other approaches don’t. End of story. Are you just being obtuse? What isn’t clear about this to you?
Copyright transfer is required by many publishers because it makes so much sense. It’s only recently poorly informed opinions like some of those in this thread that have created doubt and some dreamed-up alternative that really isn’t nearly as good as you think — not as good for authors, not as good for integrity of the scientific record, not as good for dissemination (yes, believe it or not).
So now I know better. When I transfer copyright in my work to publishers — or indeed when they just plain take it without my permission — it’s for my own good, and it actually helps my work to reach the widest possible audience, thanks to the magic of paywalls!
To celebrate all the wonderful benefits that mandatory copyright
theft transfer brings us, the video below, created By Alex Holcombe and Michael Little, is Wikimedia Commons’s “Media of the Day” — a helpful piece that explains the benefits of copyright transfer to anyone else who is as foolish as I used to be:
Update (later the same day)
This just in from the You-Couldn’t-Make-It-Up dept:
More on the Wikimedia talk page: some knucklehead has decided that the video is a copyright violation. (I would love it if it were because they thought copyright had been transferred to a publisher, but apparently it’s because they can’t find the CC0 dedication. It’s right here, and it seems from the history page that it was in the first posted version.)