From: Sandy Thatcher <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 14:18:42 -0600
This raises an interesting question: if what Oppenheim says is true,
then shouldn't authors of books based on dissertations be free to
publish their dissertations separately, or post them online?
Anyone who uses the TX Form to register copyright in a book based on a
dissertation knows, however, that the U.S. Copyright Office wants to
know whether there is any preexisting work on which the new work is
based or which it incorporates, and if the dissertation was previously
registered with the Copyright Office, that dissertation's copyright
registration number needs to be supplied on the form registering the
There is at least an implication here that the Copyright Office
assumes that the revised dissertation is a derivative work and that,
to the extent there is overlap, the copyright in the revised
dissertation includes the copyright in the corresponding parts of the
dissertation, if not the entire dissertation. Thus the Copyright
Office seems to behave in a way that would make Kevin Smith's argument
valid, at least for works created in the U.S.
Are there other legal experts out there willing to weigh in on this debate?
> From: Richard Poynder <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 11:09:47 +0000
> The recent decision by Elsevier to start sending take down notices to
> sites like Academia.edu, and to individual universities, demanding
> that they remove self-archived papers from their web sites has sparked
> a debate about the copyright status of different versions of a
> scholarly paper.
> Last week, the Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University in
> the US, Kevin Smith, published a blog post challenging a widely held
> assumption amongst OA advocates that when scholars transfer copyright
> in their papers they transfer only the final version of the article.
> This is not true, Smith argued.
> If correct, this would seem to have important implications for Green
> OA, not least because it would mean that publishers have greater
> control over self-archiving than OA advocates assume.
> However Charles Oppenheim, a UK-based copyright specialist, believes
> that OA advocates are correct in thinking that when an author signs a
> copyright assignment only the rights in the final version of the paper
> are transferred, and so authors retain the rights to all earlier
> versions of their work, certainly under UK and EU law. As such, they
> are free to post earlier versions of their papers on the Web.
> Charles Oppenheim explains his thinking here: