What is Copyright?
Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression . In copyright law, there are a lot of different types of works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!
Copyright is originality and fixation
Works are original when they are independently created by a human author and have a minimal degree of creativity. Independent creation simply means that you create it yourself, without copying. The Supreme Court has said that, to be creative, a work must have a “spark” and “modicum” of creativity. There are some things, however, that are not creative, like: titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; and mere listings of ingredients or contents. And always keep in mind that copyright protects expression, and never ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or discoveries.
A work is fixed when it is captured (either by or under the authority of an author) in a sufficiently permanent medium such that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time. For example, a work is fixed when you write it down or record it.
“Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
— United States Constitution
Article I, Section 8
Copyright has been a part of U.S. law since the nation’s founding. Congress passed the first federal copyright law in 1790, and has updated it throughout the years to keep up with the times. Our copyright timeline explains more of copyright’s history.
Who is a copyright owner?
Everyone is a copyright owner . Once you create an original work and fix it, like taking a photograph, writing a poem or blog, or recording a new song, you are the author and the owner.
Companies, organizations, and other people besides the work’s creator can also be copyright owners. Copyright law allows ownership through “works made for hire,” which establishes that works created by an employee within the scope of employment are owned by the employer. The work made for hire doctrine also applies to certain independent contractor relationships, for certain types of commissioned works.
Copyright ownership can also come from contracts like assignments or from other types of transfers like wills and bequests.
What rights does copyright provide?
U.S. copyright law provides copyright owners with the following exclusive rights:
- Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords .
- Prepare derivative works based upon the work.
- Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending.
- Perform the work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime ; or a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
- Display the work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime; or a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. This right also applies to the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
- Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission if the work is a sound recording.
Copyright also provides the owner of copyright the right to authorize others to exercise these exclusive rights, subject to certain statutory limitations.
How long does copyright protection last?
The length of copyright protection depends on when a work was created. Under the current law, works created on or after January 1, 1978, have a copyright term of life of the author plus seventy years after the author’s death. If the work is a joint work, the term lasts for seventy years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire and anonymous or pseudonymous works, copyright protection is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Works created before 1978 have a different timeframe. Learn more about copyright duration in our Duration of Copyrights Circular .
When can I use works that are not mine?
Agreements, exceptions, and limitations.
It is important to know that we are all also copyright users . When we read books, watch movies, listen to music, or use videogames or software, we are using copyright-protected works.
So, even if you are not the owner of a work, you still may be able to use it. In addition to buying or licensing works (or some other way of seeking permission to use the work), you can also use one of the Copyright Act’s exceptions and limitations, or rely on works in the public domain.
The Copyright Act’s exceptions and limitations found in sections 107-122 include fair use, the “first sale doctrine,” some reproductions by libraries and archives, certain performances and displays, broadcast programming transmissions by cable and satellite, to name a few. Interested in more information on fair use? Take a look at our Fair Use Index . The complete list of exemptions to copyright protection can be found in chapter 1 of Title 17 of the United States Code .
You can also use works that are in the public domain. Works in the public domain are those that are never protected by copyright (like facts or discoveries) or works whose term of protection has ended either because it expired or the owner did not satisfy a previously required formality. Currently, all pre-1926 U.S. works are in the public domain because copyright protection has expired for those works.
What is copyright registration?
Copyright exists automatically in an original work of authorship once it is fixed, but a copyright owner can take steps to enhance the protections. The most important step is registering the work. Registering a work is not mandatory, but for U.S. works, registration (or refusal) is necessary to enforce the exclusive rights of copyright through litigation. Timely registration also allows copyright owners to seek certain types of monetary damages and attorney fees if there is a lawsuit, and also provide a presumption that information on the registration certificate is correct.
Copyright registration also provides value to the public overall. It facilitates the licensing marketplace by allowing people to find copyright ownership information, and it provides the public with notice that someone is claiming copyright protection. It also provides a record of this nation’s creativity.
There is only one place to register claims to copyright in the United States: the Copyright Office. For more information on registration benefits and procedures, please see our Copyright Registration Circular .
What about other intellectual property rights?
Patent and trademark are other types of intellectual property that may cover works and are considered separately from copyright eligibility. For example, patents, which are granted by the government, protect certain inventions or discoveries, designs for articles of manufacture, and plant varietals. Trademark law, on the other hand, protects words, names, symbols, or devices used in trade with goods or services to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods or services of others. For more information on these other types of intellectual property, take a look at the United States Patent and Trademark Office's patent and trademark information.
What if there is change in ownership?
The Copyright Office also records documents related to Copyright. This is known as Recordation , and means that the Office reviews and accepts documents, and keeps a record of, the documents people provide. Recordation relates to three different kinds of documents: transfers of copyright ownership, other documents relating to a copyright, and notices of termination, which authors or their heirs use when terminating certain transfers or licenses.
What is statutory licensing?
Statutory licenses are some of the limitations in the Copyright Act. They relate to certain uses of musical compositions, sound recordings, and cable and satellite programming. For comprehensive information on musical compositions and sound recordings, we have a number of useful resources like our Circulars and our dedicated Music Modernization Act page . For information on cable and satellite uses, visit our Licensing Division page .
Ready for more information?
For more general information on copyright law, please see our Learning Engine video series . You can learn about registering your copyright claims, including about some of our applications for a few common types of works on our Engage Your Creativity Page . If you want more detailed information on copyright law, we invite you to read our Circulars or FAQs . For a more advanced guide, please use our Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition . The Compendium is the Office’s administrative manual relating to the Copyright Act and our regulations and practices. It provides instruction to agency staff regarding their statutory duties and provides expert guidance to copyright applicants, practitioners, scholars, the courts, and members of the general public regarding institutional practices and related principles of law.
We’re here to help!
The Copyright Office website, copyright.gov , is the definitive source of copyright information. If you need additional assistance, the Public Information Office is available to help. You can contact us online , call at (202) 707-3000 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free), or visit the Office in Washington, DC, in the Library of Congress Madison Building. Staff is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except federal holidays. Want to learn more about the Copyright Office and what we do? Visit our overview page , where you can discover how we have been helping the public since 1870.
Published By Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center
Copyright ownership and transfers faqs.
When performing copyright research, you may have questions about copyright rules or terminology. For example, you may uncover a registration indicating the work is “made for hire,” or you may find a document indicating that the copyright has been “reclaimed” by the author. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about copyright ownership and transfers.
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Ignore heading – sub heading content, ignore heading – sub table content, what is a work made for hire.
Usually, the person who creates a work is also the initial owner of the copyright in the work. But this isn’t always the case. Under some circumstances, a person who pays another to create a work becomes the initial copyright owner, not the person who actually created it. The resulting works are called “works made for hire” (or sometimes simply “works for hire”). There are two distinct types of work that will be classified as made for hire:
- a work created by an employee within the scope of employment, or
- a commissioned work that falls within a certain category of works and that is the subject of a written agreement. (The types of works that qualify and other relevant requirements are explained in more detail in Chapter 15.)
If the work qualifies under one of these two methods, the person paying for the work (the hiring party) is the author and copyright owner. If you want to use the work, you should seek permission from the employer or hiring party, not the person who created the work. If in doubt, you may be able to determine work-for-hire status by examining the copyright registration.
What Is a Transfer of Title?
The person who owns a copyright is sometimes referred to as having “title” to the copyright. A “title” is the document that establishes ownership to property, like the title to your car or house. But even in the absence of an official document, the owner of a copyright is often said to have title to it.
Just like title to your car or house, title to a copyright can be sold or otherwise transferred. A person or company can have ownership (title) of a copyright transferred to it by means of an assignment (a sale in which all or part of a copyright is transferred) or through a will or bankruptcy proceedings. Since title to a copyright can be transferred, you may have to search copyright records to determine the current owner of a work you want to use.
There are two ways to determine if copyright ownership has been transferred: by reviewing the copyright registration certificate issued by the Copyright Office, or by locating an assignment or transfer agreement. By reviewing the copyright registration certificate, you can find out who currently claims copyright and on what basis. For example, if a publisher has been assigned copyright to a work, it will file a copyright registration in its own name and indicate on the registration that it acquired copyright through a legal transfer. Also, many companies file the agreement that establishes the assignment, license, or transfer with the Copyright Office. For example, if an artist assigned his work to a company, the company could file the assignment document with the Copyright Office.
What Is a Termination of a Transfer?
Sometimes an author transfers copyright to someone and then later the author reacquires it through a process known as “terminating a transfer.” Copyright laws provide a method by which authors can reclaim rights after a number of years. This termination and reclamation process is complex, and the rules differ depending on when the work was first published. As a very general rule, transfer terminations occur between 28 and 56 years after the first publication. Terminations are filed with the Copyright Office and can be located by researching Copyright Office records.
For more information on terminations of transfers, see Chapter 9 of The Copyright Handbook by attorney Stephen Fishman (Nolo).
What If More Than One Person Owns a Copyright?
A common question is whom to ask for permission if several people jointly own a copyright. Co-ownership of copyright can occur in various ways. For example, if:
- two people jointly create a work
- the author transfers portions of the rights to different people (for example, giving half to each child), or
- the author sells a portion of the copyright to someone and keeps the remainder.
Co-owners of copyright have a legal status known as “tenants in common.” When a co-owner dies, his or her share goes to his or her beneficiaries or heirs, not to the other co-owner. Each co‑owner has an independent right to use or non exclusively license the work—provided that he or she accounts to the other co‑owners for any profits. What this means for our purposes is that if you obtain the permission of any one co-owner, you can use the work. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, as explained in the next section.
You can determine whether there is co-ownership of a certain work by reviewing Copyright Office documents. For example, a registration for a song might indicate that a composer and a lyricist co-own a song.
When Must You Get Multiple Permissions?
There are several situations in which you must obtain permission from all the co-owners of a work instead of just one. All co-owners must consent to an assignment of the work (a transfer of copyright ownership) or to an exclusive license (an agreement granting rights solely to one person).
Is There a Difference Between an Author and a Copyright Owner?
The author is the first owner of copyright. The author is either the creator of the work or the person who employs someone to create the work (see work-for-hire rules discussed above). Many authors do not retain their copyright ownership; they sell or transfer it to someone else in return for a lump sum payment or periodic payment known as a royalty. In this way, the author and copyright owner (sometimes referred to as “copyright claimant”) may be two different people. Even if you do not know the name of the current copyright owner, knowing the name of the author will help you find the owner in the Copyright Office records.
What If a Work Does Not Contain a Copyright Notice?
It’s common to start copyright research by examining the copyright notice. However, in some cases, the notice may be missing from the work. One reason you may not find a notice is because notice is not required on works first published after March 1, 1989. In addition, for works published prior to that date, notice is required only on visually perceptible copies—that is, copies that can be seen directly or with the aid of a device such as a film projector. Printed books, paintings, drawings, films, architecture, and computer programs are all visually perceptible. However, some works are not visually perceptible, such as a song on a compact disc. But copyright notice would be required if the song lyrics were printed on the album cover.
Another reason that a work may not include notice is that the owner failed to affix it, which may result in the loss of copyright. For works first published before 1978, for example, the absence of a copyright notice from a published copy generally indicates that the work is not protected by copyright. The absence of notice on works published between January 1, 1978 and March 1, 1989 may or may not result in the loss of copyright, depending on whether the owner corrected the error within five years of the publication and met other copyright law requirements.
What If There Is a Copyright Notice for an Entire Magazine but Not for the Specific Article You Want to Use?
If a story or a photograph is used in a magazine, there may be a copyright notice for the magazine but not for the specific story or photo that you want to use. That’s because the owners of magazines, anthologies, or greatest hits collections in which many different copyrighted works are collected (referred to as “collective works”) can use one copyright notice to protect all the works in the collection. This does not necessarily mean that the magazine owns the copyright in all of the works. It may or may not, depending on the contract with the author or photographer. Copyright Office research may not necessarily help you locate copyright information for these works because they may not be listed separately by title in the records. You may be better off contacting the owner of the collective work directly. The principles for contacting copyright owners are explained in the chapters dealing with specific media (text, artwork, photographs, and so on).
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The Copyright Law Explained section of the website is intended to provide an easy to understand explanation of the major elements of U.S. copyright law. The intended audience is individual creators, small business owners, and members of the public looking for a basic understanding of U.S. copyright law . Consequently, Copyright Law Explained presents information at a very high-level and does not address all the complexities and nuances of the law. The information on these pages, like the information on the rest of the website, should be used solely for educational purposes as it does not constitute legal advice. We urge creators who are looking for more details or assistance to consult an attorney or a volunteer lawyer for the arts organization or law clinic for help; or, if you are a member of the Copyright Alliance, please contact us directly. If there are particular topics that we do not address here or in our FAQs section, please contact us and we will try to add the topic.
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Copyright registration, copyright ownership, copyright owner’s rights, copyright transfers, limitations on a copyright owner’s rights, copyright infringement, the digital millennium copyright act (dmca).
- What Is The Purpose of Copyright Law
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- How Long Does a Copyright Last
- What Is a Copyright Notice
- How To Register For a Copyright
- Benefits of Copyright Registration
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What Is Copyright?
How copyrighting works, copyright vs. trademarks and patents.
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Copyright Explained: Definition, Types, and How It Works
Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism. She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more. Her expertise is in personal finance and investing, and real estate.
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Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property . In simpler terms, copyright is the right to copy. This means that the original creators of products and anyone they give authorization to are the only ones with the exclusive right to reproduce the work.
Copyright law gives creators of original material the exclusive right to further use and duplicate that material for a given amount of time, at which point the copyrighted item becomes public domain.
- Copyright law protects creators of original material from unauthorized duplication or use.
- For an original work to be protected by copyright laws, it has to be in tangible form.
- In the U.S., the work of creators is protected by copyright laws until 70 years after their death.
When someone creates a product that is viewed as original and that required significant mental activity to create, this product becomes an intellectual property that must be protected from unauthorized duplication. Examples of unique creations include computer software, art, poetry, graphic designs, musical lyrics and compositions, novels, film, original architectural designs, website content, etc. One safeguard that can be used to legally protect an original creation is copyright.
Under copyright law, a work is considered original if the author created it from independent thinking void of duplication. This type of work is known as an Original Work of Authorship (OWA). Anyone with an original work of authorship automatically has the copyright to that work, preventing anyone else from using or replicating it. The copyright can be registered voluntarily by the original owner if they would like to get an upper hand in the legal system in the event that the need arises.
Not all types of work can be copyrighted. A copyright does not protect ideas, discoveries, concepts, or theories. Brand names , logos, slogans, domain names, and titles also cannot be protected under copyright law. For an original work to be copyrighted, it has to be in tangible form. This means that any speech, discoveries, musical scores, or ideas have to be written down in physical form in order to be protected by copyright.
In the U.S., original owners are protected by copyright laws all of their lives until 70 years after their death. If the original author of the copyrighted material is a corporation, the copyright protection period is 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years, whichever expires first.
U.S. copyright law has experienced a number of amendments and changes that have altered the duration of copyright protection. The "life of the author plus 70 years" protection can be attributed to the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, (also known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act or Sonny Bono Act), which generally increased copyright protections by 20 years.
Copyright protection varies from country to country, and can stand for 50 to 100 years after the individual’s death, depending on the country.
While copyright law is not all-encompassing, other laws, such as patent and trademark laws, may impose additional sanctions. Although copyrights, trademarks, and patents are frequently used interchangeably, they offer different forms of protection for intellectual property.
Trademark laws protect material that is used to distinguish an individual’s or corporation’s work from another entity. These materials include words, phrases, or symbols—such as logos, slogans, and brand names—which copyright laws do not cover. Patents cover inventions for a limited period of time. Patented materials include products such as industrial processes, machines, and chemical positions.
U.S. Copyright Office. " How Long Does Copyright Protection Last? "
U.S. Copyright Office. " Copyright Authorship: What Can Be Registered ."
U.S. Copyright Office. " What Does Copyright Protect? "
U.S. Copyright Office. " Duration of Copyright ," Page 1.
Yeshiva University, Cardozo Law School. " Disney's Influence on U.S. Copyright Law ."
U.S. Congress. " S.505 - Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act ."
U.S. Copyright Office. " Duration of Copyright ."
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). " Trademark, Patent, or Copyright ."
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Copyright Transfer Agreement
Jump to section, need help with a legal contract, what is a copyright transfer agreement.
A copyright transfer agreement, also known as a copyright assignment agreement , is a legal document that transfers the copyright for a work from one party to another - usually from the copyright owner to another party. These agreements are common for publishers who want to use copyrighted work of an artist. For example, a book publisher wants to use the copyrighted work of an artist for their book cover.
- Identification of the “assignor” and “assignee”
- Assignment and acceptance of the work
- Consideration (what the assignor is receiving from the assignee in exchange for the transfer of the copyright)
Common Sections in Copyright Transfer Agreements
Below is a list of common sections included in Copyright Transfer Agreements. These sections are linked to the below sample agreement for you to explore.
Copyright Transfer Agreement Sample
Reference : Security Exchange Commission - Edgar Database, EX-10.25 33 dex1025.htm COPYRIGHT TRANSFER AGREEMENT , Viewed October 4, 2021, View Source on SEC .
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Current practice includes: employment law, family law, business law and personal injury.
I have been practicing law exclusively in the areas of business and real estate transactions since joining the profession in 2003. I began my career in the Corporate/Finance department of Sidley's Los Angeles office. I am presently a solo practitioner/freelancer, and service both business- and attorney-clients in those roles.
My name is Ryenne Shaw and I help business owners build businesses that operate as assets instead of liabilities, increase in value over time and build wealth. My areas of expertise include corporate formation and business structure, contract law, employment/labor law, business risk and compliance and intellectual property. I also serve as outside general counsel to several businesses across various industries nationally. I spent most of my early legal career assisting C.E.O.s, General Counsel, and in-house legal counsel of both large and smaller corporations in minimizing liability, protecting business assets and maximizing profits. While working with many of these entities, I realized that smaller entities are often underserved. I saw that smaller business owners weren’t receiving the same level of legal support larger corporations relied upon to grow and sustain. I knew this was a major contributor to the ceiling that most small businesses hit before they’ve even scratched the surface of their potential. And I knew at that moment that all of this lack of knowledge and support was creating a huge wealth gap. After over ten years of legal experience, I started my law firm to provide the legal support small to mid-sized business owners and entrepreneurs need to grow and protect their brands, businesses, and assets. I have a passion for helping small to mid-sized businesses and startups grow into wealth-building assets by leveraging the same legal strategies large corporations have used for years to create real wealth. I enjoy connecting with my clients, learning about their visions and identifying ways to protect and maximize the reach, value and impact of their businesses. I am a strong legal writer with extensive litigation experience, including both federal and state (and administratively), which brings another element to every contract I prepare and the overall counsel and value I provide. Some of my recent projects include: - Negotiating & Drafting Commercial Lease Agreements - Drafting Trademark Licensing Agreements - Drafting Ambassador and Influencer Agreements - Drafting Collaboration Agreements - Drafting Service Agreements for service-providers, coaches and consultants - Drafting Master Service Agreements and SOWs - Drafting Terms of Service and Privacy Policies - Preparing policies and procedures for businesses in highly regulated industries - Drafting Employee Handbooks, Standard Operations and Procedures (SOPs) manuals, employment agreements - Creating Employer-employee infrastructure to ensure business compliance with employment and labor laws - Drafting Independent Contractor Agreements and Non-Disclosure/Non-Competition/Non-Solicitation Agreements - Conducting Federal Trademark Searches and filing trademark applications - Preparing Trademark Opinion Letters after conducting appropriate legal research - Drafting Letters of Opinion for Small Business Loans - Drafting and Responding to Cease and Desist Letters I service clients throughout the United States across a broad range of industries.
Brent has been in practice since 2007 and been the principal attorney and owner of The Walker Firm, LLC since 2014. Brent focuses on providing an array of general counsel services to individuals and companies in a variety of industries.
I have a background in Criminal Law, Family Law, Contract Law, and Environmental Law. I also have five (5) degrees in the following: Here are my degrees and background: 1) B.S. in Environmental, Soil, and Water Sciences 2) A.S. in Pre-Medical Sciences (anatomy, physiology, medical terminology) 3) A.S. in Aircraft Non-Destructive Inspection (science of x-rays, cracks in metal, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle inspections, ultrasonic inspections, and spectrophotometric oil analysis) 4) Master's in Natural Resources Law Studies (1 year focus in the environmental and pollution laws (Hazardous Waste Laws such as RCRA, CERCLA, FIFRA, Natural Resource laws such as ESA, CWA, CAA, FWPCA, Environmental Law, Sustainable Development, and Global Climate Change issues) 5) Juris Doctor and certificate in Native American Law
I am a lawyer in Glendale, Arizona. I have practiced in contract work including buy/sell agreements, contracts for the purchase of goods and services and real estate. I also practice in bankruptcy law and sports and entertainment law.
Gregory S. Davis is a native of New York and is a graduate of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Bowie State University. Prior to entering the practice of law, Greg was a Trust officer for one of the largest U.S. Banks, an adjunct professor of finance at Meredith College and a Series 7 licensed financial advisor. Greg is currently the owner of The Law Office of Gregory S. Davis, PLLC (gsdavislaw.com) focusing on Estate Planning, Real Estate and Business Law. Greg is also an adjunct professor of Business Law at Wake Tech.
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Copyright is another one of the asset types in the intellectual property family that is important for the owner to identify and protect. The following brief introductions were excerpted from the US Copyright Office .
What Is Copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.
Who Can Claim Copyright?
Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
Copyrightable works include the following categories:
- literary works
- musical works, including any accompanying words
- dramatic works, including any accompanying music
- pantomimes and choreographic works
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- sound recordings
- architectural works
These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most “compilations” may be registered as “literary works”; maps and architectural plans may be registered as “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”
To show a copyright notice the following elements are needed:
- The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and
- The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article; and
- The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.
Example: © 2008 John Doe or : © 2009 Rochester Institute of Technology
For more information please visit the US Copyright Office for :
- Copyright Basics
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Taking the Mystery out of Copyright
Digital Media Law Project
Legal resources for digital media, search form, understanding the difference between a transfer and a license.
A transfer of copyright is a conveyance of ownership, much like the sale of personal property. When you transfer your entire interest in a copyrighted work, or one or more of your exclusive rights under copyright, you give up all claim to the right(s) you convey (except as explained in the Termination of a Transfer or a License section). The recipient of the transfered right(s) may:
- exercise the right or rights transfered;
- authorize others to exercise the right or rights transfered via another transfer or via license; and
- sue for copyright infringement of the transferred right(s).
A license is a grant of permission to exercise your rights under copyright. In copyright terminology, there are "non-exclusive" and "exclusive" licenses. When you give someone a non-exclusive license, you give the licensee permission to exercise the right in question, but you also reserve the right to continue exercising it yourself and to authorize others to do so. When you give someone an exclusive license, you promise that the licensee and only the licensee may exercise the right. This means that when you grant an exclusive license, even you may not exercise the granted right, nor may you authorize anyone else to do so.
Copyright law treats an exclusive license like a transfer. Therefore, the recipient of an exclusive license to a right or right(s) may:
- exercise the right or rights licensed;
- authorize others to exercise the right or rights licensed via a transfer or license; and
- sue for copyright infringement of the licensed right(s).
The recipient of a non-exclusive license may exercise the right or rights licensed, but MAY NOT:
- authorize others to exercise the right or rights licensed via transfer or license without permission of the copyright owner; and
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Copyright & IP Assignment Explained: What Copyright Transfer and Assignment of Rights Really Means
A copyright confers on its owner a bundle of rights and interests.
But before that copyright interest or right can be validly transferred or assigned to another person or entity, the copyright owner must be sure that they presently own in part or in full the copyright interest that is to be transferred.
Determining copyright ownership means going back to the very origins of the creation or work and tracing all the facts concerning copyright ownership going forward to the present in a “chain of title” search that is similar a real estate title search used to validate land ownership.
If the copyright has never been assigned or licensed or if a previous licensing agreement has expired then the copyright owner is free to assign or license his rights in his work.
Copyright Assignment vs Copyright License
The transfer of a copyright assignment and a copyright license differ greatly in measure and in finality. A copyright assignment occurs when the owner of a copyright transfers to another all of his “bundle of rights” in his original work. On the other hand, a copyright license is an agreement that transfers only a portion of the owner’s rights in the copyright such as a permission to use the copyrighted material in some specified manner and for some limited amount of time. The copyright owner retains ownership of the copyright in the case of a licensing agreement.
Bundle of Rights
Just to refresh some of the memories out there, the Copyright Act of 1976 grants to the author of an original and copyrightable work a “bundle of rights.” The bundle bestows the copyright holder with the exclusive rights of reproduction, adaptation, publication, performance and display of the copyrighted material. There is also a right of distribution of the copyrighted material which is limited by the “first sale doctrine,” which permits that buyer of the copyrighted material to sell or otherwise dispose of the material he bought without the consent of the copyright owner.
Each of the rights and interests contained in the “bundle of rights” is a separate and divisible right conferred on the copyright holder. Each separate and divisible right can be sold or “assigned” or transferred to another and under a written assignment agreement which then makes that person is the new copyright owner as to that specific full or limited transfer of rights.
Copyright Transfer or Assignment Must be in Writing
The most important thing to understand and always remember about a copyright transfer or assignment is that for that assignment to be legally recognizable is must be made through a written agreement signed by the copyright owner.
This rule is established by the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 204(a) which requires that any assignment or exclusive license of a copyright be in writing and signed by the person granting the rights. Online computerized agreements are accepted by the courts as a binding form of written agreement sufficient to transfer the rights if signed by the grantor of the rights.
Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive License
There are various types of written transfer of copyright ownership. The Copyright Act of 1976 specifies that the “transfer of copyright ownership is an assignment, mortgage, exclusive license, transfer by will or intestate succession, or any other change in the ownership of any or all of the exclusive rights in a copyright, whether or not limited in time or place of effect, but not including a non-exclusive license.”
That means that if an author grants an exclusive right to publish his novel to his publisher then the publisher receives a part of the copyright to the book.
However, if the author instead grants a non-exclusive right to publish his novel to three small publishing firms then the author alone retains the copyright to work. An “exclusive license” is a written agreement granting one or more rights under a copyright in a manner where no other party will be granted similar rights.
The main “take away” to always keep in mind is that in order for a legally binding transfer or assignment of copyright to take place there must be some sort of “writing” and the writing must be signed by the person granting the copyright interests. In general, if there has been no writing signed then no legally recognizable transfer of copyright ownership has taken place.
Transfer of Copyright under Work-for Hire Agreements
Recognizing copyright transfer or assignment language in work-for-hire and even in general independent contractor work contracts can sometimes be quite difficult.
Unscrupulous employers can intentionally add in assignment of copyright clauses that unjustly benefit the employer and improperly claim copyright assignment and other rights which they have not paid for and are not legally entitled to claim.
If you have questions about your copyright interests or rights, even if under a work-for-hire agreement, it is always worth the few minutes it might take to discuss the situation with an IP lawyer.
In a work-for-hire situation the copyright to the work goes to the employer or the party commissioning the work unless the contract between the parties specifically designates that the employee or creative will retain copyright ownership in any material produced under the contract.
Because you care about navigating copyright & IP smartly follow us on Twitter, and sign up below to get valuable copyright & IP questions tips in your inbox.
About the Author: Christine Varad is the principal writer and editor for Varacolors Media. She earned her JD in law from New England Law and holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. As an artist and a lawyer she has a long standing interest in Intellectual Property law and promoting the rights and interests of writers and visual and performing artists.
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Copyright Transfer Agreement: How to Transfer a Copyright
Copyright is a type of personal property right that grants the owner of the copyright control over the use and transfer of a copyrighted work ( a piece of intellectual property ). Copyright can be owned by one creator or multiple creators, an employer, someone who hired the work to be created, or to the entity that purchased the work.
Since copyright is a personal property right, state law applies to any transfer copyright ownership including inheritance, licensing , and assignment .
While the US Copyright Office does not require you to register your copyright , registration can be helpful in protecting your copyright against infringement and in proving your ownership. Like other personal property, copyrights can be transferred in total or in part to another party for various uses and reasons.
copyright owner rights
The copyright owner is granted exclusive rights:
- Reproduction rights, which is the right to make copies of a copyrighted work
- Distribution rights, whi ch is the right to sell or otherwise distribute copies to the public
- The right to create adaptations, which are new works based on the copyrighted work. These are sometimes called "derivative works."
- Performance and display rights
The copyright owner i s the only entity who may exercise these rights with regard to a protected work, particularly for commercial gain, unless rights have been transferred.
How Copyright Transfer Works
Transfer of copyright for exclusive use requires a written agreement betw een the copyright owner and the entity who wishes to purchase the copyrights to a particular work. The owner can transfer the copyright in its entirety or only transfer some rights. If only certain rights are being transferred, they must be specified in th e contract. The transfer of partial rights is termed a license .
For example, the copyright owner may transfer the rights to reproduction and distribution of a protected work to a publisher while retaining the right to create adaptations.
Within the contr act, the copyright owner can limit the duration, scope, and nature of the use of the work. The owner can set other conditions if desired.
- The right may be limited to a specific part of the country or world.
- The right may be limited to reproduction through specific media such as a magazine or audiotape.
The owner or the owner’s authorized agent must sign the contract for the transfer of exclusive rights to be valid. Copyright can also be transferred by conveyance, as a bequest in a will, or as part of an e state.
If the copyright has been registered with the US Copyright Office, you must also record the transfer with the Copyright Office.
Stock copyright transfer contracts are available, but you should consult an experienced intellectual property attorney to ensure you are fully protected. You may wish to add a transfer clause to your standard contract if you often create works you wish to leverage for commercial gain.
Terminating a Transfer of Copyright
Under certain circumstances, you may wish to terminate a transfer. You can use a written agreement and include the specific term or end date in the transfer portion of the agreement. Alternatively, you may decide to allow the transfer to terminate according to law.
Allowing a transfer to terminat e according to the law can get tricky because changes in copyright law impact works that were copyrighted and transferred before implementation of a new law. The term can be from 28 to 56 years before the copyright reverts to the original ow ner, depending on when the copyright was received or transferred.
If the copyright was registered with the US Copyright Office, the termination of transfer must also be recorded.
complications of transferring copyrights
Copyright transfer can get extremely complex. For example:
- Party A originates the copyright.
- Party B purchases or agrees to purchase the right to use the copyright as an assignment from Party A.
- Party C may then purchase a license (a type of transfer) from Party B’s assignment to temporaril y use the copyright as well.
- Party A may still retain some right or ability to terminate the assignment or license if Parties B, C, or subsequent parties break any condition Party A placed on the copyright transfer.
Consider how tangled a copyright could become if many more parties were involved with a variety of licenses and transfers of particular copyrights are contracted on a single work.
Copyright law seems simple on the face of it, yet when the various rights bestowed by copyright begin to be awarde d individually instead of in total, the assistance of an experienced intellectual property attorney is necessary.
Because a transfer is not an outright sale and there can be many years until termination and reversion to the original copyright owner, regi stering works for copyright with the US Copyright Office, and recording transfers and terminations can protect you from having your copyright invalidated or infringed.
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Out-law / your daily need-to-know, uk copyright law: the basics.
Out-Law Guide | 24 Jul 2020 | 1:58 pm | 6 min. read
This includes the exclusive right to copy, issue copies, rent or lend, perform, show, play, communicate the work to the public or adapt the work, and the right to stop others from doing any of these things without their consent.
Copyright is a hugely complex area of law which gives territorial rights on a country by country basis which are recognised globally through a series of international treaties. However, even in Europe there is only limited harmonisation and so it is essential to seek advice from local experts as to whether the particular work in question is protected.
What is copyright?
Copyright is an intellectual property right which stops copying. It provides rights holders, such as artists, writers, software engineers, website developers and composers, with a range of rights in respect of their works including a right to royalties and to restrict how their works are reproduced by other people.
Copyright allows the owner to prevent the reproduction of a 'substantial' part of the copyright work; a test which is satisfied on a 'qualitative' basis. 'Reproduction' includes reproduction in any material form and so could be as a result of printing, including copyright works in TV programmes, films or publications, distributing copies of the work on the internet, or making a copy in 2D or 3D of a work.
Who owns copyright?
The 'author' of a work, i.e. the creator of the work, is generally the first copyright owner. Where there are two or more authors who have created a work, they may have joint ownership of the copyright if their contributions are indivisible or co-authorship where separate contributions can be identified.
To qualify for copyright protection, a work has to be 'original' in the sense that the work exhibits the "author's own intellectual creation".
Where works are commissioned or created in the course of employment, the commissioner or the employer is usually the first copyright owner. However, this will depend upon the terms of the contract, and whether the work falls within the scope of the commission or the work is created during the course of employment; both of which will need to be assessed carefully.
What types of works are protected by copyright?
The sorts of work which benefit from copyright protection are broken down into the following categories:
- Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works;
- Computer programs and software code;
- Databases (in addition to the separate Database Right)
- Sound recordings, films or broadcasts; and
- Typographical arrangements of published editions.
Artistic works include:
- a graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, irrespective of artistic quality,
- a work of architecture being a building or a model for a building, or
- a work of artistic craftsmanship.
What is the duration of copyright protection?
The duration of copyright protection depends on the nature of the protected work itself. In respect of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works copyright generally lasts for the lifetime of the owner plus 70 years after their death (or 50 years if the work was computer generated).
Copyright in audio-visual works follow slightly different rules. Broadcasts are protected for 50 years from the date the broadcast is made. Sound recordings are protected for 50 years after the end of year of publication. Films are protected for 70 years following the death of the last of the following persons: the principal director; the author of the screenplay; the author of the dialogue or the composer of the original music commissioned for or used in the film.
Copyright in typographical arrangements has the shortest duration, lasting for 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.
Does copyright need to be registered?
In the UK, provided the work is 'original', copyright will arise automatically as soon as the work is created and fixed in material form without any need for registration. It is important to note that ideas are not protected by copyright; only the expression of those ideas as fixed in a material form are protected.
Given copyright arises automatically, it is good practice to keep records and evidence of any materials or works created and when (an 'audit' trail), which may be needed to establish the subsistence and ownership of copyright in infringement proceedings. A copyright owner is advised to mark copyright material when it is published with the international copyright symbol © followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of publication (e.g. © [OWNER] [YEAR]). While this "copyright notice" is not a necessary requirement in the UK, it may assist a copyright owner in the event of infringement proceedings. It will also be necessary if a copyright owner wishes to enforce their copyright in certain foreign countries.
When is copyright infringed?
Copyright provides the owner with the exclusive right to copy, issue copies, rent or lend, perform, show, play, communicate or adapt the copyright work.
Copyright is infringed by anyone who carries out any of the copyright owner's exclusive rights without the permission of the copyright owner, unless an exception to copyright applies.
The main exceptions include making temporary copies; fair dealing for the purpose of criticism, review, quotation or news reporting; fair dealing for caricature, parody or pastiche; research and private study; incidental use; educational use; public interest or copying works for the visually impaired. However, the exceptions are incredibly narrow and, contrary to popular belief, there is no "innocent infringer" defence nor is there a defence of making personal copies for private use due to a legal challenge to legislation implementing it.
Infringement can be in relation to the whole or a substantial part of the work. A 'substantial' part of the work has been copied if the infringer has taken the "author's intellectual creation".
'Substantial' is determined by a qualitative test, not a quantitative one, which means that there may be an infringement even if a small, but important, portion of the original work is copied.
In addition an individual or corporate entity may commit a secondary infringement of copyright if, among other things, they import into the UK, possess, sell or distribute an article which they know or have reason to believe is an infringing copy.
How are computer programs dealt with?
Computer programs are regarded as literary works and therefore at a basic level their protection is no different from any other literary work. However, with the development of ever more advanced technology and AI, this area is increasingly contentious.
Can rights in copyright be sold?
Provided the relevant statutory mechanism is followed, copyright is a property right which can be bought or sold, inherited or otherwise transferred, either wholly or in part. Copyright may therefore belong to someone other than the author of the work.
Copyright owners may choose to license others to use protected works while retaining ownership themselves. The terms of any such licence should deal with the following issues such as exclusivity, assignability, the length of the term and the scope of the licence.
A common example where the copyright ownership needs to be established as soon as possible is where a business hires a third party website developer to create a new website or software platform. As the website developer is the author of the work, it will own the copyright in the works unless the copyright position is dealt with differently in the contract. In practice contracts are often silent which often leads to disputes which could be easily avoided by the contract stipulating either a licence or an assignment of copyright at the outset.
What are moral rights?
Moral rights are a collection of personal rights, allied to copyright, given to authors of literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works and the directors of films. These rights include:
- the right to be identified as author or director respectively whenever the work is commercially published, exhibited to the public or included in a film or broadcast (the 'paternity right');
- the right to object to derogatory treatment of their work (the 'right of integrity');
- the right not to be identified as the creator of a work created by someone else ('false attribution'); and
- the right not to have copies of works exhibited, broadcast or issued to the public (the 'right of privacy').
Moral rights belong to the author of an original work. They may be waived (i.e. given up), but cannot be assigned or sold to a third party. Importantly, they remain with the creator of the work even if the copyright does not, and are passed to the author's estate on death. In agreeing to waive moral rights, an author would no longer obtain the benefits moral rights provide, so it is highly advisable to seek legal advice before agreeing to waive such rights.
How does Brexit affect copyright?
Copyright is territorial and as stated above, even in the European Union there is limited harmonisation, so the scope of protection for copyright works in the UK and for UK works abroad will remain largely unchanged. To the extent that UK law is derived from EU Directives and Regulations, it is preserved in UK law by the European Union Withdrawal Act and will remain so until the law is changed, if at all, by future UK legislation.
Research by Fiona Timms of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.
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Transfer of Copyright
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last updated December 23, 2016
Copyrights are a type of personal property right that grants the copyright owner control over the use and transfer of the copyrighted work. Copyrights are important because they allow an author to create original works without the fear of later having it stolen by another author. Although registering your copyright typically makes it much easier to defend your copyrighted works, it is not necessary. The work is considered to be protected by copyright upon its creation. There are instances where an author may want to transfer some or all of his or her copyright to another person or entity.
A copyright owner's exclusive rights (either in whole or in part) can be transferred to another party, but it must be in writing and signed by the copyright owner to be considered valid. An authorized agent of the copyright owner (such as an attorney or business associate) can also sign the writing. If the owner is transferring nonexclusive rights, however, a written agreement is not required.
How to Transfer a Copyright
The U.S. Copyright Office doesn't have forms for transfers of copyrights, so these transfers are normally made via contracts. The Copyright Office does, however, record transfers of copyrights. While recording the transfers with the Copyright Office is not required for a valid transfer, it can provide certain legal advantages and may also be required in order to validate a transfer against a third party.
There are basically two ways to figure out if a copyright has been transferred from one person to another. One way is to review the copyright registration certificate issued by the Copyright Office. The second way is to research and find a transfer or assignment agreement.
Termination of Transfers
An author who has transferred a copyright to another party can reacquire their rights after a certain number of years through the process of terminating a transfer. The process of terminating and reclaiming a copyright is a complex process, and the rules depend on when the work was initially published. Very generally, a termination of transfer can occur between 28 years and 56 years after first publication of the copyrighted work. These terminations are filed with the Copyright Office, and can therefore be found in the Copyright Office records.
Under previous law, the copyright of a work would revert back to the author if a renewal claim was registered in the 28 th year of the original term of the copyright. In the event that the author was no longer alive, the copyright would go to the author's beneficiaries. Current law doesn't require a renewal claim, unless the work was already in the initial term of protection when the law changed. The current law in effect allows termination of transfer under certain conditions , 35 years after the copyright transfer was granted.
Getting Legal Help
Copyrights can be a complicated area of law. If you're interested in having a copyright transferred to you, it's important to make sure it is a valid legal transfer. For this reason, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced intellectual property attorney in your area to help you with a transfer of copyright agreement.
For more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit FindLaw's section on Intellectual Property , including a subsection on Copyrights .
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Ownership of copyright works
Ownership of copyright works may depend on the circumstances under which the work was created.
Creator and first owner
In the case of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, the author or creator of the work is usually the first owner of any copyright in it. The joint authors and first owners of copyright in a film are the principal director and the film producer. However, there is an exception where such works are made by employees.
The author and first owner of copyright in a sound recording is the record producer. The author and first owner of the copyright in a broadcast is the broadcaster. The author and first owner of the copyright in a published edition is the publisher.
Copyright in material produced by a government department belongs to the Crown. The National Archives can provide more information about this.
Works created for an employer
Where a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or a film, is made by an employee in the course of his employment, his employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work (subject to any agreement to the contrary). The expression “in the course of employment” is not defined by the Act but in settling disputes the courts have typically had to decide whether the employee was working under a ‘contract of service’ (eg as an employee) or a ‘contract for services’ (eg as a freelancer or independent contractor).
Where a person works under a ‘contract for services’ he will usually retain copyright in any works he produces, unless there is a contractual agreement to the contrary.
An employer should keep careful records of which person(s) created the work for them and any contractual agreements which were in force. The period of copyright protection will usually still be linked to the date of the death of the creator(s) - that is the employee(s).
When you ask or commission another person or organisation to create a copyright work for you, the first legal owner of copyright is the person or organisation that created the work and not you the commissioner, unless you otherwise agree it in writing.
However, in some circumstances, for example when copyright is not dealt with in the contract to commission the work, courts may be willing to find that there is an implied licence allowing the commissioner to use the work for the purpose for which it was commissioned. This does not necessarily result in a transfer of ownership. Instead, the commissioner of the work may only get a limited non-exclusive licence. This situation demonstrates the importance of establishing who owns copyright through a contract.
Prior to 1 August 1989 though, the copyright in photographs, portraits and engravings (and only those types of work) which were created as a result of a commission were owned by the commissioner and NOT the creator. Therefore at that time, if you commissioned someone to take photographs for you (for instance of your wedding party), then you would be the owner of the copyright in those photographs.
Where two or more people have created a single work protected by copyright and the contribution of each author is not distinct from that of the other(s), those people may be considered joint owners. There are slightly different rules for what are referred to as “co-written works” – see below.
Joint ownership might arise, for example, if a person was commissioned to create a website together with one of the company’s employees. It is likely that both the person being commissioned and the company would be joint first owners of copyright in the website. If someone wanted to copy or use a work of joint ownership in some way, all of the owners would have to agree to such a request, otherwise an infringement of copyright could still occur.
On the other hand where individual contributions are distinct or separate, each person would be the author of the part they created (for instance where the music and lyrics of a song are created by two different people). In these circumstances, if you wished to use just the lyrics you would only need the permission of the copyright owner of the lyrics.
Ownership of copyright can be transferred , so where something is produced that has involved contributions from more than one person, it would be possible for copyright in all the material to be owned by a single person as a result of appropriate transfers. Indeed, collaborators can agree in advance that copyright in what is to be produced should be owned by a single person or body. This could be helpful when permission needs to be given in the future. However, alternative solutions that might be equally helpful could involve all parties agreeing licensing arrangements in advance.
Where the music and the lyrics in a musical work with words are written specifically for each other by different people (a song from a musical, for example), the term of copyright will last until 70 years following the death of the last surviving composer or lyricist. The music and lyrics will still be separate copyright works, but will have the same length of protection.
Works created by students
There is nothing in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which relates specifically to ownership of copyright in works created by students. Therefore, the normal rules of ownership will apply as outlined in sections 9-11 of the Act .
A teacher/lecturer should not be able to claim joint ownership on a student’s work unless they have made a substantial contribution to that work (this may occasionally occur with primary school children, where a teacher’s involvement with a pupil’s work would usually be more considerable than the interaction with an A-level student).
However, some universities and colleges may ask that the students assign their copyright over to the establishment when enrolling. Alternatively, the establishment might extract a royalty free licence for any works created as a condition of enrolment. In the absence of any such contract, the copyright would remain with the creator.
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- By Team Editorial @Setindiabiz
- July 17, 2017
Licensing of Copyright
Types of copyright licenses.
- Time period for which the license is granted.
- Rights licensed and nature of the work.
- Geographical extent of the license.
- Terms and conditions relating to the termination, revision, and extension of the license.
- Total amount of royalty.
- If a copyright owner for an Indian work, which has already been published, has refused to republish the work and is not giving allowance for the same.
- If a copyright owner for an Indian work has refused to allow the performance of the work in public, which has already been worked in public, and as a result, the work is withdrawn from the public.
- If a copyright owner for an Indian work has refused the communication of the work to the public by broadcast.
- A cinematographic film or a sound recording made in India.
- An artistic work created by a citizen of India.`
Assignment of Copyright
The assignment should have the following features.
- The terms and conditions regarding the revision and termination of the assignment should be explicit.
- The total amount of royalty should be mentioned.
- The assignment should be in writing duly executed by the copyright owner (Assignor).
- The copyrighted work and the rights assigned should be mentioned clearly.
- If the term of assignment is not mentioned, then the term shall be taken as 5 years from the date of assignment by default. If the geographical limit is not stated, then it is assumed to the extent within India.
Transmission of Copyright
Relinquishment of copyright.
Setindiabiz is an organized team of experienced CA, CS, & Lawyers, duly supported by a pool of trained accountants & paralegal staff that provides quality & affordable compliance services to startups & small businesses in India. The views, statements and recommendations expressed in this article or post are only for the sole objective of providing information, and it does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of the company. Neither the author nor the company or its affiliates accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising from any information in this article or any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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This information is provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
The Dutch Copyright Act ( Auteurswet ) automatically protects the copyright of works of literature, science, and art from the moment the work is created, on condition that the work in question is an original work. If you are an author or maker, you determine what happens with your work. For instance, you decide how others use, copy, or display your work. Copyright is laid down in the Dutch Copyright Act.
When does copyright apply?
Copyright exists from the moment you created your work. You do not need to register or file your work. Copyright is automatic, free-of-charge, and copyright protection applies internationally. The Dutch Copyright Act only protects your work if it meets the following 3 conditions:
- Your work is original and personal, it cannot be similar to works of others.
- Your work is perceptible by senses. This implies that your work can be seen, read, or heard.
- Your work does not concern a technical product or production process. In this case you must apply for a patent .
Examples of copyright protected works are:
- books, music, and films
- paintings and drawings
- software, video games, and apps
- architectural drawings
- photos and videos
- newspaper articles
Examples of work that are not protected include catalogues, manuals, timetables, theatre programs, and telephone directories.
How do you prove your copyright?
Copyright is not officially registered anywhere. Because of this, it may be wise to state your name and the date when creating a work. In case of a court case you can then prove the work was already yours on the stated date. You can this for instance by:
- putting a copyright icon © with your name and date on your work.
- sending yourself a copy or a picture of the work by registered mail. Do check if a date is stated on the package and leave the package er envelope closed.
- having a civil-law notary record your copyright for a specific work with a date stamp, notarial deed, or report.
- having a digital date stamp for your work recorded in the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property’s (BOIP) iDEPOT .
Please note: these measures do not give your any IP rights, they are extra proof that you were in possession of the work at a given time.
Transfer of copyright
As an author or maker, you can transfer copyright in whole or in part (in Dutch):
- You can issue the rights under licence to a museum or publisher for example. In this case, copyright remains with the author or maker, but permission is given to the museum or publisher to display, disseminate, or copy the work. This must be agreed in writing.
- In the case of copyright transfer, the author ‘sells’ his work to another party. The other party then holds copyright. This must also be agreed in writing.
If an author or maker creates a work for an employer, the copyright automatically transfers to the employer unless a prior agreement determines otherwise.
What is the worth of copyright?
Do you want to transfer your copyright? Or buy it from someone? If so, the owner of the work may decide the price.
Copyright after death
If you die, copyright is automatically transferred to your heirs. Copyright ceases to apply 70 years after the death of the work’s creator. This period starts on 1 January of the year after the creator died.
Is your work used without your permission, for example distributed, printed, or published on the internet? Then this is a copyright violation (in Dutch). You can have further distribution prohibited by the court. You can also demand compensation for the damages.
Use of copyrighted work without permission
In some cases, copyrighted work can be used without permission, for instance:
- With automated text- and datamining (TCM) of databanks to find patterns and trends.
- When used in classrooms or in closed online learning environments.
- When digitising physical collections by cultural heritage agencies, such as libraries, museums, and public archives.
Copyright contract law
In addition to copyright law, there is also copyright contract law (in Dutch), which aims to strengthen the position of the author and performer in exploitation agreements with publishers, record companies, and film producers. The contract gives the operating company permission to exploit their work in return for compensation. Exploitation contracts state that the maker has the:
- right to a fair remuneration
- right to a higher remuneration if the work becomes very successful
- right to partially or fully end the contract with the exploitation organisation if the work is not properly exploited
- right to remove unfair demands in the exploitation contract
If you exploit copyrights, you must be transparent towards the creator of the work. The creator has the right to information on, among others, how the work is distributed or performed, remuneration, and revenues.
Neighbouring rights ( naburige rechten ) are applicable to performing artists, producers of phonograms, film producers, and broadcasting organisations. The performing artist has to give permission before another party records, broadcasts, or sells a performance. These rights can also be transferred. Neighbouring rights originate automatically and provide a 50-year term of protection. A 70-year term of protection applies to an executive musician or a producer.
Online content platforms
Platforms which distribute user-generated content, such as pictures, music, and videos online must:
- actively obtain permission from the rightsholders on copyrighted content
- at least partially share income generated by advertisements with rightsholders
- filter content which violates copyrights for which no permission is acquired and remove the violating content if needed
- allow their users to appeal wrongful removal of content
Databases and collections of works which took a great deal of time to compile can be protected under database law and copyright law. If you want to use a database you must ask permission from the person who created it.
For the lending of books, CDs, video films, or art, the copyright owners have a right to compensation. The Public Lending Rights Office ( Stichting Leenrecht ) collects payments from libraries, toy libraries, CD lenders, and art leasing galleries. The Rights Office then distributes these payments to organisations representing copyright owners, such as Lira (a foundation representing writers, translators, and journalists) and Pictoright (which represents image makers and press photographers). These organisations handle the further distribution among rightsholders. You can find more information with the Centre for Service to Authors’ and related Rights ( Centrum voor Dienstverlening Auteurs- en aanverwante Rechten Cedar ).
If you film or photograph people, you will be the owner of the copyright but not of the portrait right. The portrait right allows the portrayed person to prohibit the publication or copying of the photo or film. In many cases you must ask permission to publish a portrait. Portrait right falls under copyright laws.
Collective management organisation
Most authors of works (including composers, musicians, and film makers) exercise their copyrights through a collective management organisation (CMO), such as the:
- Bureau of Musical Copyright ( Buma/Stemra )
- Dutch Foundation for the Exploitation of Neighbouring Rights ( Sena )
- Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation ( Stichting Reprorecht )
- Dutch Private Copying Society ( Stichting de Thuiskopie )
These collective management organisations are affiliated to the Association of Organisations for the Collective Management of Intellectual Property Rights ( Vereniging van Organisaties die Intellectueel eigendom Collectief Exploiteren , VOI©E). CMOs are subject to an EU directive on copyright and related rights .
CMOs should be transparent towards their authors. The author should be informed on the way their work is being distributed, the profits and their royalties.
Independent Management Entity
An Independent Management Entity (IME) functions much in the same way as a CMO as it manages copyright or rights related to copyright on behalf of rightsholders. However, it is neither owned or controlled, directly, indirectly, wholly, or in part, by rightsholders, and it is organised on a for-profit basis.
The Dutch Copyright Supervisory Board ( College van Toezicht Auteursrecht , CvTA, in Dutch) supervises several of these CMOs and IMEs (in Dutch).
If you wish to file a complaint against any of these CMOs or IMEs as a user of work protected under copyright law, you must first contact the relevant organisation. They all have their own dispute settlement system. If your complaint has either not been settled or has not been properly settled, you can contact VOI©E. If the collective management organisation has joined the Dutch Foundation for Consumer Complaints Boards , you may want to bring in their Copyright Disputes Committee for businesses (in Dutch).
Licences for music copyright mediation
If you want to mediate in music copyrights, you will need a licence from the Ministry of Justice and Safety. This licence allows you to mediate performances of copyrighted works on radio or TV and in public. You do not need a licence if you make the music available on the internet, through downloads or streaming.
- Reproduction rights
- Applying for a licence to play music
- Applying for a licence to use television images
- Registering a trademark, design or idea
- Registration of patent attorneys
- Patents and how to apply for one
- Protecting your product idea or innovating IP rights
This article is related to:
- IT companies
- Culture and art
- Protecting your product, idea or innovation
What SVB’s Failure Means for the Bank and Its Clients
Low De Wei and
Priscila Azevedo Rocha
Regulators have long warned that the end of rock-bottom interest rates could cause sudden crises in unexpected corners of global finance. So when Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed in the face of a funding crunch, investors wondered if its plight was a harbinger of broader trouble. Major banks are much better capitalized than they were before the global financial crisis, and SVB’s deposit base was unusually concentrated in venture-backed startups. But the selloff in bank shares that followed SVB’s woes reflected worries that the ripple effects of interest-rate hikes could hurt at least the most vulnerable lenders, and prompted an emergency package of support from US regulators.
As the only publicly traded bank focused on Silicon Valley and new tech ventures, SVB was deeply embedded in the US startup scene. According to its website, it did business with nearly half of all US venture capital-backed startups and 44% of US venture-backed tech and health-care companies that went public last year. Its website lists Shopify, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Holdings among its clients. On March 8, its parent company, SVB Financial Group , announced it had sold $21 billion of securities from its portfolio at a loss of $1.8 billion and would sell $2.25 billion in new shares to shore up its finances. That unnerved a number of prominent venture capitalists, including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Coatue Management and Union Square Ventures, which were said to have instructed their portfolio businesses to pull their cash from the bank. By March 10, the effort to raise new equity or find a buyer had been abandoned , and the bank was put into receivership by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Joel Taylor exit explained as Notts County transfer plan revealed
Notts County news from NottinghamshireLive as the Magpies boss explains the departure of defender Joel Taylor after having his contract mutually terminated
- 18:30, 13 MAR 2023
- Updated 18:42, 13 MAR 2023
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Notts County boss Luke Williams believes it was the right moment to let Joel Taylor leave the club as he emphasised the importance of focusing on the final nine games of the season.
It was announced on Monday that the Magpies defender had left Meadow Lane with his contract mutually terminated in an attempt to obtain regular first-team football at another club.
The 26-year-old started the campaign strongly, netting a wonderful strike in Notts' opening-day victory over Maidenhead at Meadow Lane before featuring for the final time a week later in the draw away to Boreham Wood.
READ MORE: Tiernan Brooks makes transfer admission and Notts County vow
In November it was announced that Taylor had joined fellow National League side Dagenham and Redbridge on a two-month loan - featuring in all six of the games during that time.
He extended his stay at Victoria Road for a further month but found regular first-team appearances hard to come by during his second spell, making just one substitute appearance in the following six games before returning to Meadow Lane.
Taylor was named amongst the substitutes for Notts' fixtures against Southend and Bromley, with Williams perhaps alluding to a potential return to the first-team fold - ultimately never materialising.
The Magpies chief was on hand to detail the reasoning behind the decision, explaining that Taylor experienced a tough time with him during his stay at Meadow Lane.
"Joel we know has real talent - he has a cannon of a left foot and can put the ball wherever he wants, but there were times in transition mainly and it's important for me to say he had a tough time with me.
"I demand a lot from him and all of the players, and the guy we just spoke about in Adam Chicksen really makes it difficult because he is so intense and so deliberate with everything he does, he is there every minute of every single day - and when you are up against that type of competition, it's challenging because you have to match that bare minimum before that quality can shine through.
"He went on loan to get more game time and started well there, then had a bit of a tough time and didn't play as many minutes as he wanted to play, and then when he returned to County, we are in a great place and it was such tough competition with so many players playing well.
"He expressed his desire to go and try and kickstart his career again, and when a guy has been really good and behaving and wanting to set the tone that if you come in and apply yourself and be a good pro even if you're having a bad time, that is what is expected of you.
"If you do that then I try to help, yes we have left ourselves a little bit short on numbers but it was the right thing to do at the right moment because we want everyone focused for this run in and it was becoming increasingly more difficult for Joel to do that."
With Taylor's departure, questions have arisen as to whether Notts will look to strengthen their defensive options for the title run-in.
Williams will welcome Aden Baldwin back into his side after serving his two-match suspension following his red card against Dagenham and Redbridge while confirming Kyle Cameron is available for their clash with The Spitfires tomorrow evening.
But when asked whether he is looking to add to his back-line for the final nine games of the season, the Magpies boss explained the versatility shown by his players in recent weeks is enough to keep his side on track for National League glory.
"The position that Joel played in the wing-back position, I think Jodi has shown that he can understand the defensive duties required to play in that role.
"We have balance now back on the left side and we still have the chance to bring people in - Richard Brindley is close to coming back to the group so we are going to gain another defender.
"We are quite confident that we have enough bodies in the right departments and the quality that is required to keep us ticking over."
- Macaulay Langstaff 'hungry for more' despite netting eighth Notts County brace as goal records loom
- Luke Williams makes Geraldo Bajrami admission after Notts County display against Dorking
- Notts County player ratings vs Dorking as Langstaff double inspires comeback victory
- County team news vs Dorking as key defender misses out
- Notts County FC
- Most Recent
Are copyrights transferable? Yes. Like any other property, all or part of the rights in a work may be transferred by the owner to another. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section " Transfer of Copyright ," for a discussion of ownership. Do you have any forms for transfer of copyrights?
Copyright is originality and fixation Original Works Works are original when they are independently created by a human author and have a minimal degree of creativity. Independent creation simply means that you create it yourself, without copying.
Just like title to your car or house, title to a copyright can be sold or otherwise transferred. A person or company can have ownership (title) of a copyright transferred to it by means of an assignment (a sale in which all or part of a copyright is transferred) or through a will or bankruptcy proceedings.
Transfer Copyright Ownership There are many instruments and ways that creators may transfer copyright ownership to another party. Rights can be transferred by assignment, mortgage, exclusive or nonexclusive license, any other type of conveyance, or operation of law.
The Copyright Law Explained section of the website is intended to provide an easy to understand explanation of the major elements of U.S. copyright law. The intended audience is individual creators, small business owners, and members of the public looking for a basic understanding of U.S. copyright law.
What Is Copyright? Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property. In simpler terms, copyright is the right to copy. This means that the original creators of...
What is a Copyright Transfer Agreement? A copyright transfer agreement, also known as a copyright assignment agreement, is a legal document that transfers the copyright for a work from one party to another - usually from the copyright owner to another party. These agreements are common for publishers who want to use copyrighted work of an artist.
University Services Center (Building 87), Room 2469 145 Lomb Memorial Drive Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 14623 Phone: 585-475-2986
A transfer of copyright is a conveyance of ownership, much like the sale of personal property. When you transfer your entire interest in a copyrighted work, or one or more of your exclusive rights under copyright, you give up all claim to the right (s) you convey (except as explained in the Termination of a Transfer or a License section).
The Copyright Act of 1976 specifies that the "transfer of copyright ownership is an assignment, mortgage, exclusive license, transfer by will or intestate succession, or any other change in the ownership of any or all of the exclusive rights in a copyright, whether or not limited in time or place of effect, but not including a non-exclusive …
the principles of copyright law and practice and describes the different types of rights that copyright and related rights pro-tect, as well as the limitations and exceptions to those rights. It also briefly covers transfer of copyright and provisions for enforcement. Detailed legal or administrative guidance on how copyright
Transfer of copyright for exclusive use requires a written agreement between the copyright owner and the entity who wishes to purchase the copyrights to a particular work. The owner can transfer the copyright in its entirety or only transfer some rights. If only certain rights are being transferred, they must be specified in the contract.
In the UK, provided the work is 'original', copyright will arise automatically as soon as the work is created and fixed in material form without any need for registration. It is important to note that ideas are not protected by copyright; only the expression of those ideas as fixed in a material form are protected.
Copyrights are a type of personal property right that grants the copyright owner control over the use and transfer of the copyrighted work. Copyrights are important because they allow an author to create original works without the fear of later having it stolen by another author.
Ownership of copyright works may depend on the circumstances under which the work was created. ... This does not necessarily result in a transfer of ownership. Instead, the commissioner of the ...
The licensing of copyright involves the transfer of some or all of the rights to a licensee to utilize his work for financial benefits by the copyright owner or licensor. However, there is a distinction between the licensing and assignment of copyright.
Transfer of copyright. As an author or maker, you can transfer copyright in whole or in part (in Dutch): You can issue the rights under licence to a museum or publisher for example. In this case, copyright remains with the author or maker, but permission is given to the museum or publisher to display, disseminate, or copy the work.
In all, US banks had booked $620 billion in unrealized losses on their available-for-sale and held-to-maturity debts at the end of last year, according to filings with the FDIC. The agency noted ...
Joel Taylor has left Notts County by mutual consent (Image: Dan Westwell) Notts County boss Luke Williams believes it was the right moment to let Joel Taylor leave the club as he emphasised the ...