Licensing your work on your terms

Taylor & Francis logoI recently put the payment for a speaking gig on the line over licensing terms. In that case the terms were changed, the event happened, and I got paid. Jason Griffey on the other hand, put payment for a writing gig on the line over licensing terms and the gig didn’t happen.

I’ll be blunt: there is no situation in which I’d sign copyright over the T&F…or, frankly, anyone. I’m very happy to sign a license of limited exclusivity (say, 30-90 days) for publication, or license the work generally under a CC license and give T&F a specific exemption on NC so they can publish it. But their language about “Our belief is that the assignment of copyright in an article by the author to us or to the proprietor of a journal on whose behalf we publish remains the best course of action for proprietor and author alike, as assignment allows Taylor & Francis, without ambiguity, to assure the integrity of the Version of Scholarly Record, founded on rigorous and independent peer review. ” is just…well, bollocks.

However, there’s much more to the story as it turns out that the editorial board of the journal involved ended up resigning over said licensing issues. (Not specifically in regards to Jason’s complaints, but to his and what sounds like many many others.) Like Jason,

I fully understand that I speak from a position of privilege, as I have the ability to turn down writing opportunities such as this without it effecting my career negatively, and that what I’m about to say is said from this same position, but: No scholar should be producing work, whether that work be the creation of content, editing of content, or other, for entities which insist that they are doing you a favor by taking away your rights or the rights of those you represent.

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March 24th, 2013 by