We previously discussed Steven Shaviro's Jan 11 post in which he expressed his dismay at discovering that OUP had inserted "work for hire" language in his author's contract. Gordon Hull's comments here and at Shaviro's blog were particularly acute, explaining how "work for hire" differs from standard contracts: usually, an author retains various rights of ownership, re-use (e.g., in a later single-authored work), and distribution (e.g. private web archive), and allocates a limited set of rights pertaining to copyright to the press. However, with "work for hire" the author has no rights, as the press claims copyright from the start.
Here Shaviro reports on the developments. More below the fold, but in brief, he will not sign the contract, will not submit his work, will not write for OUP in the future, and will not buy OUP books until the "work for hire" language is dropped from OUP contracts, on the grounds that such contracts spell the end of our status as scholars freely contributing to ongoing discussion in the public interest and its replacement with the status of "knowledge worker" producing privately owned "content."