Assigning Copyright

Copyrights are important because they allow an author to create original works without the fear of later having it stolen by another author.

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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 in his original work.

If the owner is transferring nonexclusive rights, however, a written agreement is not required. 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.

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.” 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.

Each of the rights and interests contained in the 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.

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.


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