Author Copyright Agreements

For detailed information about the author copyright agreements, refer to Chapter 3 of the Student Journal Editors Handbook.


Three things you should know about author copyright agreements:


  1. An article, comment or book review cannot be included in a journal issue unless the author has provided a signed version of the appropriate copyright agreement.
  2. A journal issue cannot be printed until all copyright agreements have been received by the Publications Coordinator.
  3. Authors assign their copyrights to the Regents of the University of California or to the California Law Review, Inc. 


There are three types of copyright agreements:


1.        Author Assignment Agreement

2.        Author Licensing Agreement

3.        Online Companion Author Licensing Agreement


The Copyright Agreement Process explains how these types of agreements are handled.



In an Author Assignment Agreement, the author assigns (transfers) the copyright of his/her article to the UC Regents.  This is the default agreement used in most situations, with the exception of the California Law Review and the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, unless the author specifically requests to retain his/her copyright.  With an Author Assignment Agreement, the Publications Coordinator facilitates:


  • Registration of the copyright with the Library of Congress on behalf of the author
  • Processing reprint permission requests on behalf of the author
  • Posting the article on Lexis, HeinOnline, and Westlaw databases


The Author Assignment Agreement has been redesigned as a unilateral agreement to streamline the process and grant journal editors more control over the publication process.  As long as the author makes no changes to the agreement terms, University signatures are no longer required on the form. 


If an author requests any changes to the unilateral agreement, contact the Publications Coordinator immediately.  Depending on the nature and extent of the requested changes, the revised agreement may need to be approved and executed by the campus Business Contracts Office, which could delay the process by several weeks.




In an Author Licensing Agreement, the author retains the copyright to his/her article and licenses its use to the UC Regents.  Licensing agreements must be executed on behalf of the UC Regents by the campus Business Contracts Office prior to obtaining the author’s counter signature.  The Publications Coordinator facilitates this process on behalf of the journals.  All Berkeley Technology Law Journal authors use a licensing agreement.  The licensing agreement is also used in these situations:


  • The author is being published in any of our online companion publications (Ecology Law Currents, The Publicist)
  • A journal plans on recording and then publishing a transcript of a speech
  • The author specifically asks to retain the copyright


If the author retains the copyright to his/her article, he/she must register the article directly with the Library of Congress and the journal must indicate this in the dagger footnote on the first page of the article, “Copyright © 20XX held by (author’s name).”


Because licensing agreements typically take two or more weeks for the Business Contracts Office to execute, journals are encouraged to provide authors with a sample of the appropriate copyright agreement at the time an article is accepted for publication.  This will allow ample time to address any requested changes to or potential problems with the agreement well before the issue is ready to be printed.  A sample licensing agreement is included in this handbook (Appendix 2.3).


One of these two agreement types must be in place for each author before an issue can be published.  If there are two or more authors of an article, each co-author must complete an agreement and the Publications Coordinator will need to know who is the primary (first) author. 



The Online Companion Author Licensing Agreement is used for articles published in the Ecology Law Currents and The Publicist online journals.  Online companion articles are not available in print format so this version of the copyright agreement eliminates the offer of free offprints and journal issues for authors.