Can I publish in the repository my paper, book, doctoral dissertation, report, conference materials, etc.?

Academic writing (for example in the forms listed in the question) is usually copyright protected. For this reasons, it can only be made accessible to the public by the holder of that copyright, or with the holder’s consent. There are exceptions to this general rule, such as for example reprint rights. Yet these exceptions do not apply to adding material to the repository. According to the Terms of Use, only holders of the relevant rights may publish works in Lectorium.

Copyright consists in two sets of rights: moral rights and economic rights. Moral rights are always the prerogative of the creator (author). Economic rights, on the other hand, may be transferred in whole or in part – for example, only in selected fields of exploitation. For the purposes of publication in Lectorium, the issue of economic rights is of key importance. For the publication itself, the only right that is necessary is the right to exploit the work online (the right to make digital copies of the work and the right to make the work publicly accessible in such a way that anyone can access it at a place and time of their choosing). However, if the author wants to grant a CC licence to the work, they must hold practically the entirety of the economic rights to it. This is because a CC licence pertains to all known fields of exploitation.

If the right to make digital copies of the work and the right to make the work publicly accessible online are not held by the author of the work, publication of the work in Lectorium requires prior arrangement to this effect with the holder of those rights, i.e. with the person or organization who has these rights. These arrangements must be formalized in an annex to the contract previously made with regard to the work. The annex must clearly specify the type of publication for which consent is granted (i.e. it must explicitly state whether or not a CC licence may be granted) and the scope of the agreement between the parties.

How can I check if I have the copyright necessary to publish the material in Lectorium myself?

If you are the author of the work and if you hold full economic copyright to your work, the situation is very simple. You can publish the work in Lectorium, and you can do so under a CC licence.

In practice, the situation is often more complicated. The complications may be due to previously made contracts with regard to the work (such as for example contracts with publishers under which the author transferred their economic rights or granted an exclusive licence). Sometimes, even a non-exclusive licence granted to a publisher may hinder or prevent publication in Lectorium. This may be the case if the contract with the publisher prohibits the author from publishing the work in this manner. If you have signed any contracts with regard to the work you would like to publish in Lectorium, carefully analyze their provisions for any potential problems.

Complications may also arise if the work was created as part of author’s obligations under a contract of employment. Unless the contract of employment provides otherwise, with regard to academic works created by employees, the author retains the copyright, but the employer has the priority right with regard to publication. This priority right may effectively limit the option of self-publication in Lectorium, even if the limitation is only temporary. Furthermore, the employment contract may also regulate the matter of copyright and publication differently, either broadening or narrowing down the scope of rights acquired by the employer. Before you submit the work to Lectorium, check what arrangements are in place in this regard.

If you find it difficult to determine whether or not the contract grants the author the rights necessary to publish in Lectorium, it is best to discuss the issue with a lawyer.

Can I publish in Lectorium material of which I am the co-author?

Copyright to a co-authored work is shared by all the co-authors. For a co-authored work to be published in Lectorium, all co-authors must agree to it. Alternatively, if any of the co-authors transferred their rights under a contract, e.g. with an employer or a publisher, the current holder of these rights must agree to the publication.

It is not technically possible to create a shared Lectorium account, nor is it possible for several users to publish simultaneously. In consequence, a co-authored work must be published by one of the co-authors, but the remaining co-authors must all be aware of that fact, and consent to the publication.

Can I publish in Lectorium a work that was previously unpublished?

The repository holds academic and scientific works regardless of their previous publication (or the absence thereof). If the author, after publishing the work in Lectorium, enters into other publishing agreements, the author must take note whether these contracts prohibit them from continued publication of the work in Lectorium. A note for the sake of clarity: unpublished third-party works may of course not be published in Lectorium by anyone who is not their author. To do so would be in violation both of the author’s economic rights and of their moral right to make the work public.

Can I publish in Lectorium a work that is not copyright-protected?

Yes. The only category of works which may be published in Lectorium even if the person publishing them holds no copyright to them are works in the public domain. The public domain contains works that were never copyright-protected, works that used to be copyright-protected but the copyright expired, and works with regard to which copyright does not apply (e.g. official documents). Since nobody holds the rights to the works in the public domain, the works are available for general use. Please note that there are certain restrictions on how these works can be used: for example, the authorship of these works cannot be claimed, and their integrity may not be violated (e.g. by claiming that their adaptation is, in fact, the original work).

It is of paramount importance to check thoroughly whether a work indeed is in the public domain. While the general rule is that economic copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if copyright to a work by law is vested in a person other than the author, the 70 years are counted not from the time of the author’s death but rather from the date when the work was made public, which may have occurred after the author’s death. It is therefore necessary to determine whether the legal regulations in force at the time when the work was created granted the copyright to the author or to another person. Separately, it is also necessary to determine whether the person indicated as the work’s author was indeed the sole creative contributor to the work. Beside the “main” author, there may have been other creative contributors, and they may all hold rights jointly, even if only several of these persons are listed on the work. With regard to co-authored works, the period of expiration of copyright begins to run from the time of death of the last of the co-authors. Similarly, if a work that is in the public domain has been, at the present time, creatively re-worked, this generates a new work, which is copyright-protected. It is necessary to make sure whether the work is indeed the original, and not a newer re-working thereof.

Contemporary changes to works from the public domain do not need to be creative in nature in order to have an effect on the copyright situation. In 2000, an amendment to Polish copyright law granted protection to non-creative scientific or critical editions of unprotected works. The publisher of such an edition holds a special derivative right for a period of 30 years from the date of publication. Importantly, this only pertains to editions published after the amendment came into force.

The works that have become part of the public domain as a result of expiration of economic copyright are nonetheless still copyright-protected in terms of the author’s moral rights. These rights include the author’s right to decide when to make the work publicly available for the first time. This decision may only be made by the author, and after the author’s death, by a person determined by the law: the spouse, and in the absence of a spouse, the descendants, parents, siblings, and descendants of siblings, in this order. Paradoxically, if a work is found in a private archive or at an archaeological site, and the work was created when author’s moral rights were already protected by the law, the work cannot be published. This is an issue of course only if the above-listed persons who could have claims in terms of exercise of these rights are still alive. Polish law stipulates that such claims may also be raised by an association of authors or a collective management organization, if this association or organization managed the relevant author’s copyright. Formally speaking, in certain cases dissemination of works from the public domain may result in liability for the violation of the right of first publication.

Official documents and papers are yet another category of works to which special rules apply. The law explicitly excludes them from the scope of copyright protection. However, other provisions of law may impose limitations on how they can be published and disseminated. The law on access to public information gives public authorities certain rights with regard to the publication of such material. Furthermore, other limitations may apply if the documents contain confidential or classified information. If that is the case, the relevant authority must be approached with a request to re-classify the document.

Can I publish in Lectorium a work that contains third-party material?

Just because third-party material was used in a work, the consent of that third party is not necessarily required for the publication of that work. Consent is not required if the use of third-party material falls within the scope of fair use (citing within the permitted guidelines). However, the scope of fair use tends to be problematic in particular with regard to photographs, graphics, and illustrations.

A similar issue arises if a work contains third-party statements or images of third parties (as is the case, for example, in an interview, particularly if an audiovisual recording of the interview has been made). Using such statements – which constitute works – requires the author’s consent, as does the publication of the author’s image.

What rights do I grant users when I publish my work in Lectorium? Why does Lectorium ask me if I want to grant a CC licence to the work I am publishing?

Lectorium is a disciplinary repository, so its objective is to store academic and scientific material: articles, books, doctoral dissertations, reports, conference materials, etc. Typically, material like that is copyright-protected. Its publication – including in a repository – does not deprive it of copyright protection. Without the consent of the holder of the rights, users can make only limited use of the material accessible to them via the repository: they only have the rights that result from the fair use doctrine, e.g. for educational and scientific purposes. Fair use is governed by copyright law, which specifies its exact boundaries and limitations.

The use of the material in another manner requires the consent of the rights holder; otherwise it amounts to copyright violation. The user may request such consent from the rights holder directly. Additionally, Lectorium gives the rights holder the option to give blanket consent to certain uses, in the form of a selected type of a Creative Commons licence. The licence will be valid for all users of given material. Granting a CC licence means that consent is granted for the work to be used across all known fields of exploitation (with specific limitations depending on the type of licence).