Copyright: what you can and cannot do with your and other's work
Copyright has to do with the right to re-distribute a piece of work (e.g. to re-use someone else's figure in your own work) and is different from plagiarism which has to do with intentionally or unintentionally representing work or ideas as your own original contribution. Providing a reference for someone else's image (for example) that you are using in your own publication, is sufficient against plagiarism, but is not necessarily sufficient to protect from copyright violation. Simply put, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder before anyone else's work can be re-used.
- Copyright applies to a) fiction or non-fiction writing or speech, b) computer programmes,
c) musical or scientific work,
d) film: photographic or other artistic work,
e) architecture or functional art or works which have been expressed in other ways, f) maps and even other notations or graphics of a descriptive nature, and
g) computer-based design material.
- Copyright applies not only to the whole piece of work, but parts of it as well. So figures within a document are just as protected as the entire piece of work.
- The above are independent of the media, and hence the same rules apply to material obtained from the internet as from a printed book. It also does not matter what media you use to create your own publication, where you are thinking of re-using someone else's work: re-using someone else's work and putting it on the internet is no different from putting it in a printed document. In fact the internet is often a bigger problem since the copyright violation is more easily detected since the visibility is much, much higher.
- For educational purposes, there is some flexibility to distribute copyrighted material to registered participants in a course. In Sweden, Bonus Presskopia is an umbrella organization that acts as an intermediate between educational institutions and copyright holders and through agreements set up there, teachers are allowed (but not students) to copy and distribute to a class up to 15 pages or 15% of a work (e.g. a book), whichever is less. Photocopying an entire book, even if out of print, is not allowed without prior permission from the copyright holder.
- For private use (which includes a student's own studying), in Sweden, one is allowed to make copies of small amounts of a work. "Small amounts" is not defined, but it definitely excludes copying an entire textbook, as is pointed out clearly in the Swedish law text (in Swedish).
- We are more than happy to answer questions or come to your course/research group/department... to give a 30 minutes information session: ask us.
Copyright and Theses
- The printed version of a thesis is not considered by commercial journal publishers to have a wide enough circulation to be considered "published". Hence including articles or article material in the printed version of a thesis is not a problem.
- Electronic theses, are more sensitive to copyright issues
- For "collection of articles" types of theses, we remove all the articles (both published and in-press), publish only the introduction (kappa - in Swedish) and provide links to the published articles.
- Parallel publishing of articles is often allowed. See discussion below.
- Do not publish manuscripts prior to them being published commercially. Some journals do allow what is called pre-print publishing (i.e. publishing manuscripts before they have been published by a journal) however, we have heard of a small number of cases where even when the journal allowed it, referees were not always that happy.
- For "monograph" type theses, publishers feel that chapters will require significant re-writing before the material becomes an article and hence there is not a problem with electronically publishing a monograph-type thesis, even if some of the material has not been turned into an article.
Research Articles and Parallel Publishing
With most commercial journals, authors sign an agreement in which they give up the copyright to the article. However, with most publishers there is a clause which deals with rights retained by the author and with 90% of publishers this clause allows authors to publish their articles on personal and institutional websites, parallell publishing, with some minor conditions.
Photographs, diagram, tables, maps, drawings, art, multi media etc.
Copyright applies to photographs, diagram, tables, maps, drawings, arts, collage etc. which are published in print or electronically and for sound and video files. This means that you cannot, without permission from the copyright holder, straight off, use material from the Internet, books, newspapers etc. You must always ask for permission to use copyright protected material! In order to make it easier getting a permission, state that the copyright protected material will be used in an academic context for example Ph.D. Thesis, student thesis or a report and that the electronic version will be published at the University non-commercial publisher Linköping University Electronic Press. A full reference to the used material and the copyright holder must also be stated.
Note that frequently when you publish a journal article you sign away the copyright to that article and as such lose the right to freely re-use your own figures and tables from that publication. The specific rules vary widely from publisher to publisher; a small number of publishers do allow you to re-use figures from a published article in a subsequent article without explicitly asking permission (a reference, however much always be given). Other publishers require you to contact them and obtain permission for each of the figures (even your own) that you plan to re-use in a later publication. You must check the copyright transfer agreement that you signed at the time of publication.
Amending the Traditional Copyright Agreement
- The problem with copyright issues arises because authors traditionally sign away virtually all rights with regards the copyright of an article, when it is published.
- What is recommended is that authors attach an addendum to the copyright agreements used by journals that allows parallel publishing on institutional and personal web sites.
- The SPARC organization developed an addendum. One simply fills it in and attachs it to the copyright form supplied by the journal, together with a covering letter explaining that you are adding an addendum and mail to the journal.
At LiU E-Press Authors Retain the Copyright
When publishing at LiU E-Press, authors do not lose the copyright:
- All authors, including students, who publish their work at www.ep.liu.se (LiU E-Press), retain the copyright to their work.
- All work published at LiU E-Press is protected by Swedish copyright law. LiU E-Press has no commercial interest in the material it publishes.
- The publishing agreement that all authors must sign prior to publication at LiU E-Press, only gives LiU E-Press permission to make an author’s work available on the internet.
- As author, it is your responsibility to ensure that the material you use in your work is not copyright protected; this includes figures, tables, diagrams, and sound and video files.
- If someone other than yourself has created or been involved in the creation of sound or video clips to be included in your work, then you must have permission from them to publish the files. Use our form to get this permission.
- In the case that you subsequently publish your work with a third party, you must inform that publishing body that the work is already published at LiU E-Press (this does not prevent you from publishing with a third party, but they cannot restrict the publication at LiU E-Press).
- Parallel publishing of articles at LiU E-Press is frequently allowed, without requiring additional permission from the publisher. Ask us about the publishers policies. The information can also be found at Sherpa.