Copyrights Serious Matter for AAPG
Did you know that the U.S. Constitution addresses the concept of copyright protection as being important in order to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture.
How does that apply to petroleum geology?
AAPG’s own constitution dictates we facilitate the dissemination of petroleum geology knowledge -- and one of the best ways of fulfilling that dictate is to assist scientists in the authorship and publishing process.
U.S. copyright law protects your written expression of facts, ideas, systems or methods of the geology you study and work with. While every country’s copyright laws are different, if you author an article or paper, in the United States you are considered the owner of your material.
There are a few exceptions to this generalization, though, such as authors who write material at the behest of their employer or government.
After you have created your paper or article and if you want to publish your material, the vast majority of publishers will ask you to transfer copyright ownership over to them prior to publishing.
AAPG does this itself; the reasons for that are two-fold.
First, AAPG asks authors to sign a transfer of copyright form so the collective work -- whether it is an issue of the BULLETIN or Environmental Geosciences or a Memoir -- can be registered with the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Library of Congress. The entirety of the work is then protected under U.S. law.
AAPG also protects its publications by requesting that authors working on papers for AAPG seek written permission from copyright holders for any material contained in the paper that has been previously printed elsewhere. A Permissions Request Form is located online at www.aapg.org/pubs/index.cfm and must be forwarded to AAPG once permission has been obtained.
When AAPG is considered to be the author, such as with any of our printed or digital Reprint Series, we also go through this request process with other publishers, so what we are reprinting is done with permission of the copyright holder addressing the rights of the original authors.
Second, with the registration of copyright, AAPG is able to oversee the use by others of material contained within AAPG copyrighted publications.
We encourage the use of material contained within AAPG publications by authors in order to disseminate scientific information, bearing in mind all material is properly acknowledged.
AAPG considers fair use to be a single figure, a brief paragraph or a single table from an AAPG publication in a paper in another print publication, provided proper citation appears with the reproduced item crediting the original authors.
Electronic use of author work published with the AAPG, such as inclusion in presentations, does require contacting the AAPG. We are able to provide digital copies of most published items -- however, permission should always be sought prior to use.
If you as an author plan on using any material from AAPG publications that falls outside fair use, simply submit a written request that includes your contact information, identification of what you wish to use and details about your intended use of the material.
(For specifics on the process go to www.aapg.org/pubs/aapgcopyright.cfm.)
The U.S. government provides information about copyright in the United States at www.copyright.gov.