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U.S. Copyright Termination -- A Window is Opening

By Ashley R. Dobbs of Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C.

Ashley R. Dobbs practices in the areas of intellectual property and business transactions. Her practice focuses on helping clients protect, grow and benefit from their ideas and assets through corporate formation, business transactions and by protecting their intellectual property.

In 1976, Congress revised the U.S. Copyright statute (the “Act”) and, depending on your point of view, either created an opportunity for naïve creators of music, comics, or books, or planted a time bomb for entities whose business models are based on long-lived copyright content. The provision at issue is “Copyright Termination,” and if you follow copyright issues in the news, you may be aware that it is becoming a big issue for musicians and recording studios and publishing houses and authors. But it should also concern organizations such as industry associations who publish journals and magazines, relying upon member submissions and articles; or businesses who deliver testing, training or other content created by independent contractors, to name a few.

Copyright Termination - What Does It Mean?

Content creators - musicians, songwriters, authors, comic strip artists - may all transfer their copyright in their works under the statute, by contract or will, to anyone else. However, regardless of the terms of any such transfer, the Act provides a five-year window of time during which the...

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