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Open access policies such as that of Harvard or MIT are implemented by granting the university some non-exclusive rights on the works written by faculty. This is very useful as it circumvents subsequent copyright transfers (to some extent).

There are a few articles explaining why this is compatible with copyright law, so in common law (see below). I wonder whether similar policies could be designed under authors' rights, in civil law (for instance the french "droit d'auteur"), where rights transfers seem to obey to slightly different rules.

Useful links:

  1. Simon Frankel and Shannon Nestor, Opening the Door: How Faculty Authors Can Implement an Open Access Policy at Their Institutions

  2. Eric Priest, Copyright and the Harvard Open Access Mandate, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, preprint August 1, 2012

closed as off-topic by jakebeal, EnergyNumbers, mhwombat, pintoch, RoboKaren Nov 27 '15 at 22:05

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  • 2
    This sounds more suitable for Law than Academia. This question may be interesting to academics, but an expert answer would come from a law expert, not an academia expert. – ff524 Nov 27 '15 at 17:30
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it deals with precise legal details which this site is unlikely to be able to provide sufficient expertise to answer well. I believe it should be migrated to Law.SE. – jakebeal Nov 27 '15 at 18:43
  • I have posted it on Law.SE: law.stackexchange.com/questions/5486/… – pintoch Nov 28 '15 at 7:44
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    Harvard has very good lawyers who I'm sure they consulted with before making this policy. – Noah Snyder Nov 28 '15 at 15:26