Author Rights

When an author creates an original piece of work, copyright to that work is automatically assigned to the author.  In a scholarly context, this means that the author automatically has the right to distribute their work in a variety of ways such as having the ability to :

  • Make copies of the work for educational use, including class notes, study guides or electronic reserves
  • Use part of the work as a basis for a future publication
  • Present the work at conference or meeting and give copies of the work to attendees
  • Deposit the work in an institutional or funding agency repository

But when you, the author, work with a traditional publisher to distribute your work, they will likely ask you to sign away these rights. Once these rights are assigned to the publisher, you, the author, are required to ask the permission of the publisher before you can distribute your own work.

In order to help scholars and future scholars retain their author rights, the SPARC Author Addedum was developed by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

The revised Canadian Author Addendum to Publication Agreement [pdf] is a tool that can be used by authors to negotiate with publishers for the right to retain important rights, such as the ability to share and reuse their work – including the ability to make their work available to all via an open access repository. The accompanying CARL Guide to Using the Canadian Author Addendum provides practical straightforward guidance on how to use the addendum.
The CARL Guide to Author Rights seeks to situate use of the addendum within the broader context of copyright and ownership of scholarly works, including how rights retention can be taken into consideration at each stage of the publication lifecycle. This guide may assist both authors and librarians in knowing when and how to use the addendum as well as informing a broader understanding of author rights as they pertain to the creation and dissemination of academic research.

To use the Canadian Author Addendum to Publication Agreement Author Addendum:

  1. Complete the addendum at
  2. Print a copy of the addendum and attach it to your publishing agreement.
  3. Note in a cover letter to your publisher that you have included an addendum to the agreement.
  4. Mail the addendum with your publishing agreement and a cover letter to your publisher.

If you have any questions about retaining your copyright, please contact

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