There is a great new website to help those who create stuff — whether they are filmmakers, musicians or academic authors — understand and manage their copyrights. Several groups at Columbia University law school, working with a Board of Advisors, have created the site to walk creators through the rights they have, how they can manage those rights to accomplish their personal goals for their work, and even the common terms found in many publication contracts. The need for this website is summed up very well in its first paragraph:
“Today, too many creators take a passive attitude toward their copyrights. The matter seems complex, and publishers or distributors may tell you that everyone does it their way, or that giving up copyrights is standard practice. But giving up your rights under copyright is a decision, not a default option. If you stand passively by, you may over the course of a long creative career produce a large body of work, most of which is owned and controlled by other people, whose interests and yours may diverge.”
Academic authors and creators should take these words to heart and use this website to develop a proactive strategy for managing the rights they have in the works they create. The vast array of options now available for sharing and exploiting one’s own creative work suggest that passivity is no longer a sensible option, and the information offered by this site is exactly the remedy needed.