Q: Does distribution of published articles amount to violation of copyright policy of the publisher?
Would distribution of a copy of published paper be considered as an infringement of copyright? When I distribute a copy of a published paper or send a downloaded pdf of a published paper, would this behavior infringe the copyright of the publishers?
While the specific answer to your question will depend on the publisher, most journal publishers allow sharing of research articles under certain conditions. For example, Elsevier and Springer, two biggest publishing houses, allow authors to share their papers. Authors can share their preprints anywhere at any time. However, published articles can be shared only through non-commercial channels (personal homepage or blog) and is subject to the embargo period. Authors can also share their articles by providing copies to their students or to research collaborators for their personal use.
The distribution of published articles would violate copyright policy if the author does not seek permission from the journal before distributing their article for commercial gains. The ultimate decision lies with the journal and, therefore, it is important for authors to read the terms and conditions mentioned in ‘Transfer of Copyright’ agreement before publication.