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American Association of University Presses Statement on Copyright and the Costs of Scholarly Publishing

On average, university presses recover 87% of the cost of publishing scholarly books from sales. An important component of this revenue comes from payments received for permission to reproduce works in, for example, anthologies, paperback editions, coursepacks, electronic reserves, and document delivery services.

Federal copyright law is the legal foundation on which this method of cost recovery rests. Copyright protects the right of authors to be recognized for their work and be appropriately compensated for it, and by limiting distribution to authorized rights holders it provides the basis for market-based recovery of publishing costs.

Respect for copyright is essential to making this system work. Copyright infringement violates authors' rights and, like any other form of theft, increases the burden on those who abide by the law. It puts pressure on prices, reduces publishing capacity, increases deficits, and shrinks resources needed for change, experimentation, and growth.

AAUP calls on all members of the university community—students, faculty, and administrators—to respect the obligation of university presses to strike a balance between the need for access to the information they publish, and the twin imperatives of protecting the legal rights of their authors and recovering publishing costs.

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