SIL International Publications

Intellectual Property Requirements

Management of Intellectual Property (IP) is an important part of the publishing process. Our publications are IP belonging to SIL International. Part of the reputation of an academic organization is the material it publishes. We respect those assets of the organization and the value it brings for SIL. Therefore, we guard it for appropriate use and to prevent any other use.

SIL International takes the responsibility of managing Intellectual Property seriously. When an author brings their manuscript to us, they also bring written permissions for use of IP belonging to others that is to appear in their publication. The reasons for requiring this are 1) the IP is an asset belonging to someone else and we want their understanding of and permission for what part of their asset we would like to incorporate and where, and 2) if we do not get permission we open the author and the organization up to legal action on the part of the IP owner: that is expensive to both the SIL reputation and budget. In these requests we also find out how the IP owner would like to be credited. We attribute the way the IP owner requires -- or not, if the owner does not want to be credited. We attribute even when not required to by the owner (except for those who explicitly do not want credit), our attributing extends to Public Domain items if the creator is identified. For SIL's IP, we also manage use by others. Just like we provide documentation for how we will use someone else's IP, we require documentation from those who would like to use SIL's IP.

For our authors we provide forms that they use to gather permissions for material appearing in their publication. We obtain both permission for incorporating material belonging to others and also informed consent for the use of an interview or a quote or referring to someone by name. Intellectual Property material can include: text (especially a whole unit and/or the nucleus or core of the book or chapter), poems, recipes (really!), tables, charts,  illustrations, maps, photographs, graphic elements. A commonality in this (non-exhaustive) list is that each item is a complete something in itself, and as such, it is protected by copyright law.

Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports (this does not include use in the books that we publish -- permission is always required). There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, or percentage of a work (although no more than 10% has been our "rule"). Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances, as well as how the owner views your use. Fair Use has sometimes been described as a defense rather than a right. It is always best to obtain permission.*

Our forms are linked here: Copyright Permission form, Intellectual Property form, Informed Consent form

*Portions of this paragraph are from