Copyright & Intellectual Property
How LAW eCommons Works With Copyright
LAW eCommons makes submissions available using a Creative Commons "Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative works" license, which means that deposited works cannot be used commercially or changed in any way, and any authorized use must be properly attributed. Submissions will also be accompanied by a copyright statement indicating the author's continuing rights. LAW eCommons will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the author's name remains clearly associated with the submission and that no alterations of the content are made. (For more on Creative Commons licenses, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/.)
- See What Do Publishers Allow? for more information on determining what version of your work can be posted in LAW eCommons.
- Please contact us with any questions regarding the distribution license or other questions about copyright and intellectual property with regards to Loyola LAW eCommons.
Maintaining Control of Your Work
Faculty are often concerned that disseminating research online can lead to a loss of control over how their work is used. Making your research available for free online without restrictions ("open access") will likely result in a wider audience for your work (possibly including readers from outside academia), and it is true that digital texts can be copied much more easily than those in print. However, plagiarism is actually much easier to detect online – and of course, plagiarism existed long before the Internet. Materials posted in LAW eCommons have the same copyright protections as those printed on paper – open-access only changes the method of distribution, not the author’s rights.
LAW eCommons also helps avoid unauthorized use by explicitly maintaining the connections between authors and their materials. Items in LAW eCommons are always accompanied by full author information, a copyright statement, publication details, and a “Recommended Citation,” which makes it simple for your work to be properly cited. Just like traditional publication, posting material in LAW eCommons provides a way to "fix" your research and ideas in a tangible medium of expression, preserving it for future use and providing a secure, easily referenced record of your work.
LAW eCommons and the University Libraries are committed to helping authors navigate copyright and intellectual property issues in the research and publication process. In addition to the information and resources provided below, our librarians are available to consult with authors in need of further assistance. Please contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your questions and concerns.
Your Rights as an Author
Unfortunately, many publishers require authors to sign over copyright as part of the standard publishing agreement. Since publishing in top journals is a major component of tenure and promotion, most authors accept such agreements without argument, resulting in the relinquishment of ownership of copyright for their own intellectual property. There are two main alternatives to this situation: (a) modifying the terms of the publication contract, and (b) open-access publishing.
Modifying the Copyright Terms of Your Publication Contract
Many publishers will consent to changes in the standard author agreement to allow for some retention of copyright and/or deposit of work in an academic repository such as LAW eCommons. The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine and the SPARC Author Addendum are tools that can be used to modify your agreement with the publisher in such a way that you are able to retain key rights to your work.
Alternatively, consider publishing in an open-access journal (or choosing an open-access publishing option from a traditional journal publisher) or repository, where all articles are freely available online. Publishing in an open-access context allows you to retain all copyright over your research and make your work available to the widest possible audience. The Directory of Open-Access Journals lists over 5,500 open-access scholarly journals that exercise peer-review or editorial quality control. See About Open Access for more information.