Very useful info Jim. I am wondering if court would have even recognize the authority of a
copyright transfer from an institution to a publication on the say-so of a researcher. Can a
scientist just sell off the office furniture as well?
On 1/27/15 11:10 PM, Jim Perkins wrote:
> You're absolutely correct. The document that the author signs usually
> states that s/he is transferring full copyright of the manuscript and all
> accompanying materials - including artwork - to the journal. As I said
> earlier, many authors just sign these agreements blindly and never
> consider whether it violates the agreement they have with the illustrator.
> If the illustrator granted limited rights to the author, then the author
> has no legal authority to transfer copyright of the artwork to the
> journal. But if the illustrator takes any action against the journal, the
> author gets caught in the middle and isn't happy. You are correct that
> this inevitably leads to bad feelings between the author and illustrator.
> So, yes, the illustrator must be very proactive in checking the submission
> requirements of the journal and making sure the journal will accept a
> limited license rather than full transfer of the copyright.
> There has been a lot of discussion about this on the AMI listserv. Much of
> the discussion focuses on large clinics, medical schools, and teaching
> hospitals that have their own in-house illustration departments (places
> like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, etc.). The staff illustrators would
> create artwork that belonged to the clinic or med school, but then the
> scientists and physicians would sign away the rights to that artwork every
> time they submitted a paper to a journal. Since the journal now owned the
> copyright, the illustration department would have to pay a licensing fee
> back to the journal to use their own artwork! Some of the these clinics
> and medical schools finally realized that they were giving up a valuable
> commodity by signing away the rights to their work. So they forbid their
> faculty and researchers from signing these sorts of agreements. Initially
> this created a standoff, but the publishers eventually backed down because
> they depend on the researchers at these big institutions for so much of
> their content. This has opened the doors for independent illustrators to
> also negotiate with the publishers to retain their copyright.
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