Category Archives: Reaching Readers

Authors Alliance Supports Controlled Digital Lending By Libraries

Posted September 28, 2018
woman sitting in a chair holding an e-reader

photo by Pexels | CC0

Today, Authors Alliance joins a group of organizations, including the Digital Public Library of America, Internet Archive, and UC Berkeley Library, to endorse the Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries. The statement offers a good-faith interpretation of copyright law for libraries considering digitizing works in their collections and circulating the digitized title in place of a physical one. Today’s release of the statement is accompanied by an in-depth white paper by David Hansen and Kyle K. Courtney analyzing the legal arguments for CDL.

For centuries, libraries have provided free access to books to their patrons. Ownership of books gives libraries the right to lend their copies and make them available on bookshelves without seeking copyright owner permissions. In the digital age, libraries have an interest in continuing this time-honored tradition by scanning physical copies of books in their collections and making digital copies available for lending on the same types of terms as they have done with conventional books.

Controlled Digital Lending (“CDL”) is an example of how new technologies can be harnessed to help authors share their creations with readers, promote the ongoing progress of knowledge, and advance the public good. Many authors face technical, legal, and financial barriers that prevent them from sharing their works more widely. When easily accessible online version of their books are not available, their books are effectively locked away, creating a chasm in the public availability of important works.

Under the CDL’s digitize-and-lend model, libraries make digital copies of scanned books from their collections available to patrons (the hard copy is not available for lending while the digital copy is checked out, and vice versa). A library can only circulate the same number of copies that it owned before digitization. Like physical books, the scanned copies are loaned to one person at a time and are subject to limited check-out periods. System design choices and collection decisions, like selecting books that are orphaned (works for which the copyright owner cannot be identified or located), books that are out of print, or books that are non-fiction or primarily factual enhance the fair use arguments that underpin CDL. As Hansen and Courtney explain, CDL is “not meant to be a competitor to Overdrive, nor a replacement for licensing e-books of best-sellers or other currently licensable e-book content,” but CDL is particularly helpful to “address access to the large number of books published in the ’20th Century black hole’ that have little hope of otherwise bring made available to readers online.”

For these reasons, CDL is particularly beneficial for authors whose works are out of print or otherwise commercially unavailable: In the absence of digitizing and lending these books, many would simply be inaccessible to readers. In fact, some Authors Alliance members have taken the extra step to regain the copyrights to their books from their publishers and make them openly available online, including through HathiTrust, Google Books, and Internet Archive’s Open Library, without one-person-at-a-time lending restrictions. Others have negotiated with their publishers to make open copies of their works available from the moment of publication. These authors are often motivated by their desire to reach readers and promote the dissemination of knowledge and culture beyond the commercial life of their books, or to reach readers whose access to these works is otherwise limited.

Sidonie Smith, Professor of English and Women’s Studies at University of Michigan, regained rights to her 1987 book A Poetics of Women’s Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictions of Self-Representation several years ago. Smith now makes the book available to the public under an open access license, allowing her to reach readers and scholars around the world. According to Smith, this decision means that her book can “live more vibrantly in the public and academic spheres. Through that access I can share ideas more directly with emerging scholars in my fields of autobiography studies and feminist studies of women’s literature; support students and faculty around the globe in their engagement with life writing capaciously defined; and contribute in a small way to the project of educational justice that makes scholarly resources available across differently situated institutions of higher education.”

Robert Darnton, Professor at Harvard University, also opened up access to the first two books he published and made them freely available online after he successfully reverted rights. At the time, he described how distributing works in this way allows authors to “ensure[] that your work’s continuing impact and relevance are not limited by its commercial life.”

While reverting rights, terminating transfers, or negotiating for open terms may be an option for some authors to fully open up access to their works online, the fact remains that millions of books—especially those that have fallen out of print—are, for all intents and purposes, unavailable. The CDL model is a boon to the authors of these and other books, allowing them to find new audiences online.

For all of these reasons, and those outlined in the Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries, Authors Alliance endorses CDL as a beneficial tool for readers and authors alike.

 

 

Authorship & Accessibility in the Digital Age: A Roundtable Report

Posted September 11, 2018
Photo of a maze and Authorship and Accessibility title on a green background

photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash

The Internet has opened up the opportunity for creators to reach worldwide audiences. Authors can transmit digital creations in a matter of seconds by simply uploading an article or ebook, sharing a video, or posting a blog entry. But authors can reach an even wider audience if their digital creations are accessible to those with disabilities. Notwithstanding significant strides made toward making digital content more accessible over the past decade, the prevalence of inaccessible digital content continues to be problematic.

Last fall, Authors Alliance, the Silicon Flatirons Center, and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology convened a group of content creators, technologists, attorneys, academics, and advocates to discuss the role of creators in making digital works more widely accessible to people with disabilities.

The roundtable discussion focused on the unique role authors, educators, and libraries play in making digital works accessible; the benefits, obligations, and barriers around accessibility; the availability of authoring tools that facilitate accessibility; and the gaps for digital accessibility that technology and policy might fill.

That conversation led to the creation of the report, Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age, which distills these topics into a concise summary of the current landscape, as well as recommendations for further action. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Silicon Flatirons Center and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology in making the roundtable and the report possible. We would also like to thank Angel Antkers, Susan Miller, and Sophia Galleher, student attorneys in the Colorado Law Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law and Policy Clinic, for their role in authoring this report; and Rob Haverty at Adobe Document Cloud for his assistance in creating an accessible pdf.

The full report can be downloaded here.

 

Rights Reversion Success Story: Dale Cannon

Posted March 27, 2018

Photo of Dale CannonDale Cannon is Professor Emeritus of philosophy and comparative religion at Western Oregon University. In March of 2017, he reverted rights to his religious studies textbook, Six Ways of Being Religious and made the book available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC license in Western Oregon Library’s Digital Commons open access repository. During the past year, the book has been downloaded nearly 600 times. Professor Cannon shared his rights reversion experience for us in the following Q&A.

Authors Alliance: How did you first learn of rights reversion?

Dale Cannon: I first learned of rights reversion at a workshop/conference I attended for textbook authors the year after my book was published (1996).  It was all new to me.  The one thing that particularly stood out was the claim that absolutely none of the polished contract that I had received from Cengage Learning (at the time it was operating under the name Wadsworth Publishing) was “written in stone;” every word of the contract had been open to negotiation. (That, of course, doesn’t mean that Cengage would have readily accepted a rights reversion clause that favored my interests.)  About such matters I was completely naïve when I signed the contract.

I believed at the time that Cengage/Wadsworth was the best publisher I could have secured, as they had a track record of publishing several books closely related to the orientation and content of my book, and their publishing campaigns for those books seemed ideal.  So I’m skeptical that I would have had much leverage to get them to include a rights reversion clause, especially one favoring my interests.

AuAll: What motivated you to request your rights back?

DC: Several factors motivated my request.  One is that the book wasn’t selling well, due to a failure on Cengage’s part to mount a major sales campaign (as had been promised by my editor, who left the company shortly after the contract was signed).  The editor subsequently assigned to my book had no interest in books on religious studies and ignored the previous editor’s enthusiasm and promises.  On top of that, the original price of about $27.00 had long since been left behind and was 3 and 4 times that by the early years of the 21st century.  But I was very interested in having the book become better known and more widely used in university classrooms.  It wasn’t simply a textbook in the comparative study of religions; it was distinctly different and broke new creative ground in the theory of religions.

I have since learned more about self-publishing and how attitudes among academics toward self-publishing have changed a lot and become much more positive.  Of course, I could not consider any such option until I had rights reverted to me.

AuAll: How did you go about requesting a rights reversion?

DC: I simply wrote to the editor (14 years after publication) requesting reversion of rights, explaining how sales had been very low for quite some time (especially for a textbook), with no prospect of that changing.  Clearly my publisher wasn’t making any money on the book, so warehousing remaining copies was becoming a problem, not to mention the prospect of a reprinting.

AuAll: Were you eligible to exercise a clause in your contract granting reversion rights?

DC: There is a clause in the contract entitled “Reversion of Rights,” that seems to be entirely conditional upon the book being “declared out of print in the United States” plus 90 days after such declaration.  I did not appeal to this clause of the contract when I wrote requesting reversion.

AuAll: Did you face any obstacles in getting your rights back?  Is there anything you wish you’d known going into the process?

DC: I did not face any obstacles.  I received communication back from my request within a week, as I recall, and the official reversion of rights within about a month.  The persons with whom I had communication regarding reversion were all cordial and easy to work with.  There is nothing I would have preferred doing differently regarding the process.

AuAll: What advice do you have for other authors who might want to pursue a reversion of rights?

DC: There are several different circumstances that need to be taken into account.

Before the contract is signed, by all means try to have a reversion of rights included in the contract.  Do some research and have some alternative models at hand for how it might be worded.  Do take the publisher’s interests into account and, if possible, provide reasons for reversion that not only will be understandable to the publisher but also make it attractive to them.  Be prepared to go to another publisher.  It would be best if you have another acceptance offer in hand, or at least the strong likelihood of one.

After publication, a reversion of rights, in a situation where there is not a strong reversion of rights clause with clear conditions that are met, there should be no problem.  If there is no such clause, then you would need to establish that it would be in the publisher’s best interest to revert the rights to you—which could be a very tall order, unless the future prospect of sales, etc., is very dim, as was the case for me.

AuAll: How has the reversion helped you?  What have you been able to do with your book since reversion?

DC: Reversion has given me freedom to do what I want with Six Ways of Being Religious, including publishing it myself, and possibly finding another publisher. Currently, I have chosen to have it digitized and published on my university’s digital commons.

Since doing so, it has been downloaded more than 500 times in many different countries around the world.  I am considering offering print-on-demand and possibly an ebook version, both for a small price.

Rights Reversion Success Story: David G. Ullman

Posted January 31, 2018

Headshot of David UllmanDavid G. Ullman is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Design at Oregon State University and an expert on product design and decision-making best practices. After securing a reversion of rights, Ullman published the sixth edition of The Mechanical Design Process, a leading text used to teach mechanical engineers the processes of product design. We asked Professor Ullman to share his rights reversion success story with us.

Authors Alliance: What motivated you to request your rights back?

David Ullman: When The Mechanical Design Process was first introduced in 1992, I insisted that it be priced at less than $50. I felt this was a fair price for a university text on the topic. McGraw-Hill, the publisher, agreed and released it at $49. Over the years, McGraw-Hill steadily raised the price over my protests. By 2017 the list price was $166. University bookstores sold it for $149. I contacted McGraw-Hill, protesting the price increases. I told them that I did not understand their business model, the price was usury, and they were killing the sales of the book. Where inflation would have taken the book to $85, they had nearly doubled that. Finally, in early 2017, when the annual sales for the fifth edition (2015) had dropped from 4,000 copies per year to 1,000, I offered to buy the copyright, and they agreed, at no cost to me. Thus, in November 2017 I released a new edition of the book at a price practitioners and students can afford: $49.95. It is interesting to note that as soon as the agreement was signed, McGraw-Hill’s list price was lowered by $30.

AuAll: How and when did you first hear about rights reversion?

DU: I always knew that it was possible to buy back rights. When I decided to request the rights back, I did a lot of online reading to be sure I understood the ins and outs.

AuAll: Could you walk us through the process of requesting your rights back?

Continue reading

Making In-Copyright Works Open Access:
A Report From Iceland

Posted November 15, 2017
Typewriter with Icelandic keyboard

Photo by Rob McKaughan | CC BY-NC-SA

The island nation of Iceland—about the size of Virginia, and with a population of around 300,000—might be one of the smallest in the world, but it enjoys a robust influence on literature and culture that’s out of all proportion with its size. Thanks to a long tradition of universal literacy, a booming publishing industry, and an enthusiastic reading public, Iceland is home to a great many authors, some of whom are eager to make their books available online.

To help address this need, Professor Ian Watson of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology undertook a project to help some of these authors release their out-of-print books online under Creative Commons licenses. His article, “Assisting Living Authors in Opening Access to Their In-Copyright Works: A Report From Iceland,” details his experience with author-by-author rights clearance. Watson worked with authors to digitize their books (if they were not already part of Google Books) and ensure that their permissions status in HathiTrust was fully open. Watson’s results were successful overall, with 31 of 36 authors responding favorably to the idea of opening their works. Ultimately, 28  works were made newly available online. (The difficulties that did arise were most often bureaucratic or technological, rather than the result of unwillingness by authors or publishers to cooperate.)

Head shot of Ian Watson

Authors Alliance: You are a longtime advocate for open access, as well as the former editor of an OA journal [Bifröst Journal of Social Science]. How did you first become interested in OA?  What do you see as its main benefits?

Ian Watson: I got interested in open access in 2008, originally because I saw that it was the best way to publish written work by scholars at the university in Iceland where I was working. The university wanted to start a journal to help its employees get their research published. If we had held their work back and given it out only to those willing to pay for a paper copy, very few people would have ever read what they wrote, and administering payments and subscriptions would have taken hours of work. I offered to set up an open-access website for the journal using OJS, in addition to printing a few paper copies. This appealed to our open-minded rector. Later on, I also realized that open access was the right approach for many books and monographs in Iceland.

AuAll: How do you view the current state of OA? What changes have you observed over the years? What would you like to see in the future of OA publishing?

IW: Open access is well accepted and supported these days, and that’s wonderful. Still, too much new scholarship is being published behind toll barriers. Too many books and papers are still published in the old guard of high-prestige, toll-access presses and journals.

The rise of sites like SciHub that circumvent the existing legal framework signal that the market for scholarly journal articles is not yet in equilibrium; in the long run, I think it will just be very hard to sustain charging high prices for things that have a zero marginal cost. Just as users have long used public and university libraries for free, I think it’s inevitable that digital libraries will tend towards being free too.

It’s tremendously important to get the word out to authors that they can change the rights status of their work. At the same time, open-access advocates should be comfortable with the fact that there are many books that are still written to be sold and to make money, and that’s OK.

AuAll: You found that the majority of the authors that you contacted wanted to open up access to their works.  Why do you think these authors were enthusiastic about making their works newly available online?

Continue reading

The “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection” and U.S. Copyright Terms

Posted November 7, 2017
Page spread from The Dictionary of American Slang

A Dictionary of American Slang, 1926 – One of the books in the Internet Archive’s new Sonny Bono Memorial Collection

Last month, the Internet Archive announced the launch of the “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection,” a set of digitized full-text books published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1941. The collection takes advantage of an obscure section of U.S. copyright law, section 108(h), which allows libraries and archives to reproduce, distribute, and display books that are in the last twenty years of copyright, provided that the work is neither obtainable at a reasonable price nor being commercially exploited.

The provision was included in the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which extended U.S. copyright terms for works by individual authors by twenty years.  CTEA resulted in a twenty year delay in some works entering the public domain: Works that were protected by copyright at the time the CTEA passed will not enter the public domain until 2019 or later. (The legislation is also known as the Sonny Bono Act because of Bono’s support of longer copyright terms during his tenure in the House of Representatives.)

The term extension had the effect of locking away countless works that would have been eligible to enter the public domain just as the promise of digitization and online access was beginning to emerge. Section 108(h) was added as a safety-valve to help ensure that the extended copyright term did not restrict public access to commercially unavailable works, providing a limitation on copyright that allows libraries and archives to rescue these works and make them available for research, scholarship, and preservation.

While section 108(h) allows for a step in the right direction, it’s not a cure-all. Determining a work’s eligibility is time-consuming and labor-intensive, and there are a number of variables to consider. But thanks to automation, the Internet Archive plans to add thousands of volumes to the collection. Professor Elizabeth Townsend Gard’s new paper gives libraries and archives guidance on how to implement section 108(h).

If your books are not eligible for inclusion in 108(h) collections, but you would like to see them freely available online, Authors Alliance can help.  Our rights reversion and termination of transfer resources provide strategies you can use to regain your rights in order to make them newly available. And together with Internet Archive, Authors Alliance can even help you to scan previously undigitized works to add them to our online collection just ask!

We hope that the Internet Archive’s leadership in implementing 108(h) inspires other libraries to create more “Last Twenty” collections and gives a second life to previously unavailable books.

Spotlight on Open Access & Innovative Academic Publishing Models

Posted October 25, 2017

Just in time for the start of the new academic year, Authors Alliance featured a series of Q&As with our members on the topic of open access and innovative academic publishing models. In celebration of Open Access Week, we’ve collected what these authors had to say about the benefits of making their works openly accessible.

 

Eric von Hippel (MIT) on the benefits of making his books, Free Innovation, The Sources of Innovation, and Democratizing Innovation, openly accessible:

“The increase in readership I have experienced by going OA is really worth it to me—it makes me very happy. Evidence to date is that about 10 times more eBooks are downloaded than print copies are sold, so I guesstimate that I am reaching about 10 times more people with the ideas I find exciting than I could have done in the pre-OA era.”

“It especially makes me happy that now teachers can assign even a single chapter of one of my books in a class in a developing country if they wish, without worrying about burdening students with any purchase costs.”

 

Read the full interview with Professor von Hippel here.

 

James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins (Duke) on the benefits of openly publishing their law school casebook, Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society – Cases & Materials:

“…[T]he benefits of openness come out in other surprising ways. For example, visually impaired students have told us they really appreciate an open electronic text that can be customized using their favorite programs—to produce a machine-generated audiobook, for example, in whatever format they choose.

“[I]t is striking how much tangible benefit in terms of citation, influence, and so on that [making our book openly accessible] has yielded. When it comes to open access to scholarship, doing good can be very compatible with doing well.”

 

Read the full interview with Professors Boyle and Jenkins here.

 

Barton Beebe (NYU) on the benefits of publishing Trademark Law: An Open Source Casebook as an open access work:

“I sort of love that so many students are using my book and that they didn’t have to pay for it. That’s worth more to me than whatever royalties I would get through the for-profit model.”

“I think the main result of using the open access model is that a lot more people have used the book and so maybe it has had more influence than it otherwise might have.”

 

Read the full interview with Professor Beebe here.

 

For more information about open access, including our guidebook and more success stories, check out our Open Access resource page.

ICYMI: Books on Open Access & Copyright Featuring
Authors Alliance Members

Posted October 24, 2017

Here at Authors Alliance, we like to keep up our copyright chops all year ’round, and we know that many of our readers do, too. In honor of Open Access Week, we’re re-posting this list, originally shared over the summer, of new books featuring Authors Alliance members. Best of all, three of the four titles are openly accessible and available to read in full online!

Screen-Shot-2017-06-13-at-11.29.05-AMFirst up is Creativity without Law: Challenging the Assumptions of Intellectual Property,  edited by Kate Darling and Aaron Perzanowski, and published by NYU Press. This collection features essays about diverse creative communities by a number of noted IP scholars (and Authors Alliance members!), including David Fagundes, Aaron Perzanowski, Christopher Sprigman, Katherine Strandburg, Rebecca Tushnet, and Eric Von Hippel.

The book demonstrates how creative endeavors, from cinema and fanfic to fine cuisine and roller derby, push the boundaries and assumptions of intellectual property through community norms and self-regulation. As Perzanowski and Darling write in their introduction, “While IP is a crucial tool for maintaining creative incentives in some industries, scholars of creativity already understand that the assumptions underlying the IP system largely ignore the range of powerful non-economic motivations that compel creative efforts. From painters to open source developers, many artists and inventors are moved to create, not by the hope for monetary return, but by innate urges that are often quite resistant to financial considerations.”

In a similar vein is Made by Creative ComMade With Creative Commons - Covermons, by Paul Stacey and Sarah Hinchliff Pearson. It’s a collection of real-life examples that highlights the advantages of using CC licenses, both for sharing work and for building a sustainable business model. Case studies include everything from the party game Cards Against Humanity to the Public Library of Science (PLoS) to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

“Part analysis, part handbook, part collection of case studies, we see Made With Creative Commons as a guide to sharing your knowledge and creativity with the world, and sustaining your operation while you do. It makes the case that sharing is good for business, especially for companies, organizations, and creators who care about more than just the bottom line. Full of practical advice and inspiring stories, Made with Creative Commons is a book that will show you what it really means to share.”

The book is available as a free download (under a CC license, of course!), and may also be purchased in a print edition.

9781760460808-b-thumb-copyright Out in paperback from Australian National University Press is What if We Could Reimagine Copyright?, a collection of essays by international scholars about the possibilities of copyright, edited by Authors Alliance members Rebecca Giblin and Kimberlee Weatherall. Like Creative Commons, ANU Press offers the book as a free download, as well as in print.

“What if we could start with a blank slate, and write ourselves a brand new copyright system? What if we could design a law, from scratch, unconstrained by existing treaty obligations, business models and questions of political feasibility? Would we opt for radical overhaul, or would we keep our current fundamentals? Which parts of the system would we jettison? Which would we keep? In short, what might a copyright system designed to further the public interest in the current legal and sociological environment actually look like? Taking this thought experiment as their starting point, the leading international thinkers represented in this collection reconsider copyright’s fundamental questions: the subject matter that should be protected, the ideal scope and duration of those rights, and how it should be enforced.”

Free Innovation - CoverFinally, we recommend Free Innovation by Eric Von Hippel, available in full as an open access title from MIT Press.

“Free innovation has both advantages and drawbacks. Because free innovators are self-rewarded by such factors as personal utility, learning, and fun, they often pioneer new areas before producers see commercial potential. At the same time, because they give away their innovations, free innovators generally have very little incentive to invest in diffusing what they create, which reduces the social value of their efforts.

The best solution, von Hippel and his colleagues argue, is a division of labor between free innovators and producers, enabling each to do what they do best. The result will be both increased producer profits and increased social welfare—a gain for all.”

 

Authors Alliance Teams Up With UC Berkeley for Open Access Week

Posted October 23, 2017

cover of Understanding Open Access guide

This Open Access Week, Authors Alliance is partnering with the UC Berkeley Library for a panel on dissertation publishing and impact, to be held on Tuesday, October 24. (To attend, please register here.) Earlier this year, the UC Berkeley Library published two posts that highlight the challenges of open access publishing—and what can be done to address those obstacles.

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Berkeley’s University Librarian (and an Authors Alliance board member), is also a professor of economics. His statement about the economics of scholarly publishing discusses the scholarly publishing landscape in the context of unsustainable licensing fees that place an ever-increasing burden on libraries. Publishers’ profits are soaring while library budgets are being slashed.

But there is support for open access (“OA”) publishing, and new funding models provide badly needed financial support for authors who wish to publish their works openly. Berkeley’s Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg, explains the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) program, which offers subsidies to authors wishing to publish open access— not only journal articles, but monographs as well.

Our Guide to Understanding Open Access provides an overview of when, why, and how to make works openly available, and is just one of the many resources featured on our website. The guide is available to download (open access, of course!) and may also be purchased from our store.

The full slate of campus OA Week events can be found here. And check out Berkeley’s Scholarly Communication Services page for an excellent introduction to a wealth of topics on copyright, open access, and more.

Authors Alliance & Creative Commons Launch New Termination of Transfer Tool

Posted October 11, 2017

creative commons infographic

Authors Alliance and Creative Commons are pleased to announce the official launch of our jointly-stewarded Termination of Transfer tool, now available at rightsback.org. The tool is designed to help authors navigate the “termination of transfer” provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Authors who enter into publishing, recording, or other types of agreements involving their creative works are routinely asked to sign away their rights for the life of copyright—which generally lasts 70 years after the author dies in the United States. Fortunately, authors do have options if they come to regret these decisions and want to share (or renegotiate the terms of sharing) at a later date. The termination of transfer provisions, when exercised properly, let authors walk away from or renegotiate their copyright transfers. The key feature that makes these rights so powerful is that termination rights can’t be signed away. They apply “notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.”

Termination of transfer allows creators (or, in some cases, their family members) to regain copyrights to creative works they may have signed away decades ago. Our tool helps them understand if those termination rights exist, and if not, when they may exist in the future. With rights back in hand, authors have many options for getting their works in front of new audiences, from sharing their works with the public using a Creative Commons license to negotiating new agreements with publishers.

Though these termination rights are an extremely powerful boon for authors, exercising them can be daunting. The law is complex and difficult to navigate, requiring attention to detail and careful timing. The termination process is only available within a five-year window, and can only be exercised if notice is provided significantly in advance of the actual termination.

Rightsback.org is the result of a partnership between Authors Alliance and Creative Commons, and draws on the expertise of both organizations to demystify this little-known area of U.S. law. The tool provides basic information about the eligibility and timing of termination rights based on user input, along with suggestions on next steps that authors may wish to take in securing rights.  While this tool is currently U.S.-based only, Creative Commons plans to develop a database of other country laws that enable authors and creators to similarly terminate or reclaim their rights when their agreements are governed by those other laws.

We encourage users to try out the tool and to contact us with any questions or suggestions. We are excited to share this resource with our creative communities, and look forward to your comments!

Authors Alliance and Creative Commons are grateful to the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, for their generous support of the creation of the Termination of Transfer tool. See our full list of personnel and thank-yous at rightsback.org/about.