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Copyright ownership in a work

Copyright is a bundle of exclusive rights - to copy, communicate, publish, perform, and adapt a work - that come into existence when an original work is given material form.

The author/creator is usually the first copyright owner (this may differ if the work has been made in the course of employment or as a work for hire).

Publishers often make it a condition of their agreements that the author assign copyright ownership in a work to the publisher; this transfers all rights to deal with a work from the author to the publisher.

However, many publishers do allow the author to deposit the 'accepted manuscript' (i.e. the final refereed and edited manuscript) of their paper into an institutional repository; this includes making the version available to end-users.

For more information about publisher policies, see:

Copyright information for contributors

Before contributing research publications to the Murdoch Research Repository, you need to read and sign the Repository Deposit Agreement - a one-off agreement that asks for the right to store your works and make them publically available.

For a work to be made publically available in the repository, one of the following conditions must apply:

  • the author retains copyright in the work (n.b. any co-authors must agree to the deposit); or
  • if copyright ownership was assigned to the publisher of a work:
    • the publication agreement/contract authorises deposit of the work in an institutional repository; or
    • the publisher has a policy that permits deposit of the work in an institutional repository; or
    • subsequent permission to make the work available in the repository has been given by the publisher.

Repository staff will:

  • check the policy of the publisher to determine if deposit of material into an institutional repository is allowed;
  • request permission to deposit the work from the publisher if no policy or agreement terms exist;
  • create a record in the repository so that your work can be found
  • convert any MS word files to PDF format (if required and appropriate)
  • advise you if the full-text is not able to be made publically available, or if any other conditions apply.

There is no transfer of copyright ownership when a deposit is made to the Repository.

Managing author rights in future publications

Although many publishers now allow an author to retain some rights in the final version of their work (i.e. the final refereed and edited manuscript), you should still read any agreement/contract carefully for the publisher's terms of publication: in particular whether they allow you the right to deposit that manuscript in an institutional repository and to use it in other scholarly contexts, such as conferences etc.

Even if the agreement requires the transfer of all copyright in the work to the publisher, you may be able to negotiate with the publisher to keep at least some of your rights.

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides many resources for authors and publishers interested in Open Access publishing; amongst these is an online author addendum that can be used to modify the terms of an agreement. Please contact the copyright coordinator for further information about the use of an addendum, or about attaching a Creative Commons licence to your work.

Copyright information for users

The copyright of any material deposited in the repository is retained by the copyright owner, usually the author or the publisher.

You may download and print a single copy of any work in the repository for your personal, non-commercial use.

Further use of a work may infringe copyright. If the material is required for any other purpose, you should contact the author or publisher directly; requests for further use cannot be handled by the repository.

Copyright infringement

If you believe that material is available on this site in a way that infringes copyright, please notify the University Copyright Coordinator using the Notification of Infringement Form.

Further information on copyright can be found on Murdoch University's Copyright website.

Who can I contact with queries?

If you are unsure of the copyright policy relating to a paper, please contact the Murdoch Copyright Coordinator:

Helen Balfour
Phone: +61 (0)8 9360 7491