Retaining rights to creative work is a major concern for many scholars. The following sources provide an excellent introduction to issues pertaining to author rights.
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC has created a clearinghouse of resources on open access publishing, including resources on author rights, a primer on understanding your rights as an author, how to better understand publishing agreements, tip on how to negotiate agreements with publishers, and retaining rights to your own work.
SPARC created and author addendum that can be modified by scholars to retain certain rights as well as to provide a starting point for negotiating author rights with journal publishers.
Science Commons produces a "Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine" that can help you generate a PDF form that you can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to help you retain certain rights.
Publisher Policies & Copyright
Sherpa/Romeo provides a searchable database of publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies for pre and post-print journal articles. Search Sherpa/Romeo for publishing policies by journal title or publisher name. RoMEO provides a handy color-coded chart that identifies journal archiving policies. Note that exceptions can often be negotiated by authors! Sherpa/Romeo is based at the University of Nottingham, England.
COD Library has produced a handy guide for questions about Copyright, including sections on Copyright law, Public Domain, Fair Use, Getting Permission and the Teach Act.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.