What Is a Transfer of Copyright Rights?

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Copyright is a set of exclusive rights given to owners of original work. These rights govern the ownership, inheritance, and namely, the transfer of these rights. Read on to discover more about the transfer of copyright rights and how a seasoned New Jersey copyright lawyer at The Ingber Law Firm can walk you through this.

What is an example of a transfer of copyright rights?

A transfer of copyright rights is usually done via an assignment or a license. For one, an assignment of copyright rights is essentially the sale of your original work to a third party. Secondly, a license is virtually an agreement where a third party can exercise ownership rights of your original work without the fear of being sued for infringement.

Say, for instance, that you are the author of an original piece of literary work. If you own the copyright to this literary work, you may just have the ability to transfer these exclusive rights to a third party. Now, you may be wondering how this transfer may benefit you. Well, the simple answer is that this third party may be a publisher that can use this right to reproduce and distribute your literary work. With this, your agreement to transfer these rights to a publisher must be in writing to be considered valid.

And, if you transfer these rights via an assignment, you may no longer be allowed to control how the third party (i.e., publisher) uses their rights over your original work (i.e., reproducing and distributing). But if you transfer via a license, you may still control how the third party uses your original work.

Can I terminate a transfer?

And say, for instance, that after you transfer these copyright rights to a publisher, you wish to terminate it. This may be because you wish to give these rights to your beneficiaries instead so that they can benefit from the increased value of your literary work. If so, you cannot negotiate this transfer away. Instead, you must be aware of the following deadlines:

  • If the transfer was made on or after January 1, 1978: you may have five years to terminate a transfer beginning at 35 years from the assignment.
  • If the transfer was made before January 1, 1978: you may have five years to terminate a transfer beginning at 56 years from the date the copyright was originally secured.

We understand just how complex it is to understand your rights as an owner of an original work, along with understanding whether transferring these rights is best for your original work. For more information on how to initiate or terminate a transfer, you must not hesitate in speaking with a talented Essex County, New Jersey intellectual property lawyer. We await your phone call.