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Student Journals: Author Copyright Agreements

Author Agreements Explained

An author holds the copyright to his/her journal article.  In order to be published in a Berkeley Law journal the author must either:

  • Transfer the copyright to the Regents of the University of California (Author Assignment Agreement, or simply, Author Agreement)
  • Grant a non-exclusive license to the UC Regents to print the article (Author Licensing Agreement)

An Author Agreement must be in place for each author prior to an article being published!

Author Agreements specify the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of both the author and journal

If an author requests any material changes to any one of our agreements, contact the Journal Administrator immediately.  Depending upon the nature and extent of the requested changes, the agreements may require review by the campus Business Contracts Office, which could delay the process.

No changes can be made to the Author Indemnification Clause, in which the authors must warrant that their article does not infringe on another party’s copyright.  As the University did not write the article (and is therefore an act not under the control of the University) the University will not assume financial liability for defending an allegation of copyright infringement.  The author’s indemnification clause mitigates this financial risk for the University.

3 Versions of Author Agreements

  1. Author Assignment Agreement  the author assigns (transfers) the copyright of his/her article to the UC Regents.  This is the default agreement for most journals.   The Author Assignment Agreement has been designed as a unilateral agreement; so long as the author makes no changes to the agreement terms, University counter-signature is not required.
     
  2. ONLINE ONLY Author Agreement is used for those journals with online-only issues as well as journals with supplemental online companions. The sole difference from the Author Assignment Agreement is that as these are not printed publications and as such, this version of the agreement eliminates the offer of offprints and journal issues for authors.
     
  3. Author Licensing Agreement, the author retains the copyright to his/her article and licenses its non-exclusive use to the UC Regents, ans is the default for the Berkeley Technology Law Journal and California Law Review but can be used by other journals if an author specifically requests to retain the copyright.

The Licensing Agreement  must be countersigned on behalf of the University’s  after having been signed by the author.  The Journal Administrator facilitates obtaining the countersignature on behalf of the journals. 

If an author opts to retain the copyright, the journal must indicate this in the dagger footnote on the first page of the article, “Copyright © 20XX held by (author’s name).” 

Author Agreement Process

  1. Using your journal’s template (found on the Forms Library > Publishing and Production tab) prior to forwarding it to an author for signature, you must customize an agreement for each author, editing the author name, article title, and volume, issue and year of publication corresponding with the Volume (NOT necessarily the year you're sending out the Agreement, nor in production).
  2. For articles with more than one author, all authors must sign an agreement.  You can send individual agreements to each author or use a co-author agreement (request one from the Journal Administrator if you don't see one for your journal).
  3. Email the Agreement to the author.
  4. Once returned by the author, email (both pages) of the agreement to the Journal Administrator.
  5. Licensing Agreements will be countersigned on behalf of the UC Regents, then returned to you to forward the fully executed agreement to the author.

Author Indemnification Clause

The Author Agreements are locked Word Docs.  If an author contacts you wanting to make ANY changes to the default Author Agreement, contact the Journal Administrator immediately to discuss.

Per the UC Business Contracts Office, “indemnification means that one party agrees to protect the other party from financial loss that might arise out of the agreement, based on a claim or demand by someone who isn’t part of the agreement (a third party).” 

As this relates to the Journal the author must warrant is that his/her article does not infringe on another party’s copyright.  As the University did not write the article (and is therefore an act not under the control of the University) the University will not assume financial liability for defending an allegation of copyright infringement.  The author’s indemnification clause mitigates this financial risk for the University

Author Agreement cover letter text

When emailing the author copyright agreement to the author, please incorporate the suggested cover letter text.

  • Provides the author with information about the agreement
  • Includes verbiage indicating that the journal may post content on the open access BerkeleyLaw Scholarship Repository

A word document of this text can be found on the Publishing and Productions tab of the Forms Library.

Dear AUTHOR,

 The JOURNAL is pleased to publish your article entitled Article Title. To protect the University, as the publisher, and you, as the author, from unauthorized use of your article, we consider it essential to have the attached agreement signed and dated by you and returned as is listed below.

 If you make material changes to the attached agreement, subsequent review will be required by the University’s Business Contracts Office.  This additional review may delay the approval of your agreement, and may affect the publication of your article.

 If you have any questions or concerns regarding the attached agreement, please contact JOURNAL EDITOR, at EMAIL ADDRESS.  Otherwise, please sign and return the signed and dated agreement directly to the JOURNAL office at the address indicated on the signature page of the agreement.

 Thank you,