Copyright and piracy
In most countries of the world, authors enjoy protection of their intellectual property that appears in books, journal articles and parts thereof, such as illustrations, plans, tables and animations. Protected works include literary and scientific works, such as writings, speeches and computer programs. Only personal intellectual creations are protected.
The person who writes one of the aforementioned works is defined as the creator/author. Co-authorship applies if two or more persons create a work together.
Notice of Copyright is printed in general on the verso of the title page of a book or on the header or footer of a journal article. Notice of Copyright provides information regarding the date of first publication of the work and the holder of copyright. Proper notice of copyright helps to protect the integrity of the work and to fight copyright infringement.
Contents of copyright
Moral Rights cover an author’s authority to decide whether his work should be published and whether the published work should bear the author’s name.
Exploitation Rights entitle an author to decide whether copies of the work should be reproduced (Right of Reproduction) and whether these copies should be offered to the public (Right of Distribution). Right of Reproduction is the right to make copies of the work, irrespective of method or number. Right of Distribution is the right to offer to the public the aforementioned produced copies.
Author are free to publish their work by themselves or transfer the exploitation rights to a publisher; e.g. Springer. In order to be entitled to make use of these rights, the publisher asks the author to sign a publishing agreement granting the publisher the sole right to reproduce, publish, distribute and make available to the public the work in print and electronic format. Authors and the publisher should always define their relationship in a publishing agreement. Springer offers a large variety of such contracts for all kind of works. Authors should contact their Springer publishing editor for more details.
Prerequisite of the transfer of exclusive publishing rights is that the author has not already signed such rights to third parties (e.g. another publisher) and that the work has not heretofore been published in whole or in part.
Consequence of having granted exclusive rights to Springer indicates also that an author agrees not to release with another publisher any publication similar to the work published with Springer.
Authors retain, in addition to uses permitted by law (e.g. U.S. Copyright Law, Section 107, Fair Use; German Copyright Act, Section 51, Fair Dealing) the right to communicate the content of the work to other scientists, to share the work with them in manuscript form, to perform or present the work or to use the content for non-commercial internal and educational purposes.
Limitations on copyright
To the extent required by the purpose, it is permissible to reproduce, distribute and publicly communicate single works that have already been published, included in an independent scientific work in order to clarify their contents. The limits of fair dealing will vary according to special circumstances. Acknowledgement needs to be given to the original source of publication. Omission of a sufficient acknowledgement constitutes an infringement of the copyright of the cited work.
Under certain circumstances, it is permissible to make single copies of a work for private, non-commercial use; e.g. for personal scientific use or for teaching in non-commercial institutions of education. These copies may be neither disseminated nor used for public communication.
Duration of copyright
Copyright is legally valid for a fixed period of time. The length of the period varies depending on the copyright laws of each country. It is usually from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author.
Once this term has expired, however, legal rights to the work also expire. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and can be used freely.
Scientific Editions which consist of non-copyrighted works (i.e. public domain works) are protected by copyright if they represent the result of scientific analysis and differ in significant manner from previous editions of the works. Copyright protection expires 25 years after publication of the scientific edition.
Photographs are also protected by copyright. Copyright protection expires 50 years after the publication of the photograph.
Inheritance of copyright
Copyright may be transmitted by inheritance. The author’s legal successor shall have the rights enjoyed by the deceased author according to the arrangements of local copyright laws.
Infringement of copyright
Copyright is protected both domestically and internationally according to the laws and treaties of each nation. Nevertheless, copyright infringements often do occur.
Springer takes care of an author’s right and undertakes any necessary steps to protect these rights against infringement by third parties.
Any person or legal entity that infringes on the copyright of a Springer author will be urged to cease and desist from the wrongdoing and provide detailed information about the infringement.
Moreover, destruction of all copies unlawfully manufactured and distributed will be required.
Digital rights management for eBooks
Springer strongly believes that its content can be used to the maximum if restrictions of its use are minimal. This liberal policy increases the risk of piracy, but Springer’s philosophy is that this side effect is outweighed by the benefits. To protect our authors’ rights, Springer invests in and uses effective methods and state-of-the art technology to detect, stop, and prosecute illegal sharing.
Springer's anti-piracy initiatives
Our endeavors against pirated eBooks
In order to protect our authors' rights and interests, Springer proactively screens websites for illegal download links of Springer eBooks and subsequently requires hosts of such download sites to remove and delete the files or links in question.
This necessary action has become increasingly important with the growing number of eBooks within the Springer eBook collection. While we have not yet seen harmful effects of eBook piracy and file sharing on our eBook portfolio, these are nevertheless considered serious topics.
For more information and tips, please refer to the next page or download a short overview document.