Christian, remember that authors cannot give up their rights, these have already been suspended from them by copyright. What authors hold is the privilege of suspending the public's right to copy (and the author's suspended right is included). Author's don't need to sell the privilege they hold.
So, the author could remain holder of the copyright and sell a non-exclusive license to the publisher, ideally a copyleft license. This would simulate the restoration of the author's right (and that of the public) to make copies and derivatives of the publisher's printed copies and derivatives.
Authors can chose not to give the copyright to publishers in the first place.
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