You own the copyright in your works as soon as your work fixed in a tangible medium. And you remain the copyright owner unless and until you sign it over to someone else. You may be asked to do so when publishing your work with book or journal publishers.
Carefully read the contracts sent by publishers and negotiate what is important to you. One option is to replace objectionable language in standard contracts with language that meets your author needs. We’ve provided some links to alternative publishing agreements and more below.
Register basic copyright claims with the U.S. Copyright Office.
OAD Author addenda
A list of alternative publishing agreements and author addenda by the Open Access Directory (OAD)
SPARC Author Addendum
Enter the author, title, journal, and publisher information of your article to generate appropriate language for amending your copyright agreement to meet your needs.
Creative Commons licenses
Choose a Creative Commons license for you work.
An organization related to Creative Commons that shows you how to retain rights over your published material that would otherwise transfer to the publisher.
American Mathematical Society
A guide and summary of copyright agreements for authors of research papers in journals.
Keep Your Copyrights
Find helpful information and recommendations from Columbia Law School about managing rights for creators of all types.