NSS COPYRIGHT REQUIREMENTS

In March 2008, the NSS Board of Governors adopted a comprehensive NSS Publication and Copyright Policy as NSS Act 83-807 and published as Appendix AS to the BOG Manual. Please refer to that document for the full text of the policy.

In essence, this Act ensures that the NSS does not infringe on the rights of any published work or author, and that the NSS secures from the author(s) specific rights to publish material in its periodicals and publications. The Act applies to all works accepted by the NSS for use in any manner, specifically any bound publications including books, periodicals (NSS News, American Caving Accidents, and Journal of Cave and Karst Studies), compilations such as the Speleo Digest series, the NSS Members Manual, Convention Guidebooks, and submissions to the various salons.

To simplify producing the necessary legal agreement, which protects all parties, standard forms have been created.  The publication editor/chair will determine whether an agreement is required, and the form to be used. One of these agreements must be submitted along with the creator's work before the NSS may publish. There are two types of agreements for Authors of written works for publication, one agreement for Entrants of creative works for publication, and two certifications to state that the work is not entitled to copyright protection because it is a work of the United States, or other government.

These forms are in Portable Document File (PDF) format, and can be used on any computer platform. Viewing a PDF document requires the use of Adobe Reader, which is available for download at no cost.

Here is a general explanation to assist in determining which of the various agreements to use, and when.

ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT
This agreement irrevocably assigns the copyright for the work to the NSS and the work becomes the exclusive property of the NSS. This agreement is usually required for books.

NSS PUBLICATION LICENSE AGREEMENT
This agreement provides four degrees of protection, depending on which box is marked and is required for periodicals such as the NSS News, American Caving Accidents, Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, and compilations such as the Speleo Digest series, the NSS Members Manual, and Convention Guidebooks.One box must be marked. If the work has never been published, then the Author will choose box one or two. If the work has been published previously, then the author will choose and comply with box three or four.

  1. Marking "Right of first publication," grants the right of the NSS to be the first publisher of the work. The Author may republish anytime thereafter.
  2. Marking "Right of exclusive publication," grants the right of the NSS a ninety-day period during which the Author agrees not to publish elsewhere.
  3. Marking this box indicates the work has previously been published elsewhere, but prior publication agreement(s) pertaining to the entire work or elements within the work DO NOT exist. The author is agreeing to authorize the NSS to publish the work, as well as all elements within the work.
  4. Marking this box indicates the work previously has been published elsewhere, and at least one prior publication agreement pertaining to the work exists. In this case the author will submit all prior publication agreements that pertain to the work. If permission to tr-publish is required, the author will need to submit this. The author is agreeing that they are authorized to allow publication of the work, as well as all elements within the work, and consents to the NSS publishing their work.

NSS CONTEST ENTRY SUBMISSION AGREEMENT
When someone enters their creative work into an NSS-sponsored competition (salon),they grant to the NSS the right to display and/or utilize images of that work for any internal and nonprofit purpose for an indefinate period . This agreement is required for entry of creative work into the salons. In return, the NSS agrees to take all appropriate steps to ensure that the creator’s monetary rights are not abridged; these steps will be spelled out in the agreement, which may vary with each salon.

CERTIFICATION OF WORK OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
This certification will be used to acknowledge the work is not entitled to copyright protection because it is a work of the United States Government based on which box, or boxes, are marked.

CERTIFICATION OF WORK OF A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT
This certification will be used to acknowledge the work is not entitled to copyright protection because it is a work of the Foreign Government based on which box, or boxes, are marked.

The Executive Vice President has delegated to the Editor of each publication the responsibility for establishing the guidelines of what materials require formal copyright assignment, how they will receive such agreements, how and where they will be maintained or filed., and for how long.

These forms can be filled in online (which improves readability) or printed out and filled in by hand. If the user has Adobe Acrobat Professional software, the completed form can be saved and attached to an e-mail. Users of Acrobat Pro may also digitally sign the forms. If Acrobat Pro is not available (i.e., an older Acrobat version or Adobe Reader is used), the completed form cannot be saved, but must be printed; the form then can be scanned as a pdf and sent as an electronic attachment. The form may also be copied and pasted into a word-processing program for completion.  Forms may be signed by hand, digitally, or with a graphic image of a signature.  Completed forms may be submitted as e-mail attachments, faxed, sent by conventional mail, or forwarded as XML data if this option has been enabled.  Each Editor may choose how to receive the agreement forms.

The completed and signed form should accompany the work to be published
Acceptance of the terms of these agreements will be acknowledged by the NSS, as appropriate, either with a copy signed by the editor, by an e-mail stating the contract is in effect.

Any questions or issues concerning copyright policy should be directed to the NSS Executive Vice-President.