Mudcat Café message #160796 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16566   Message #160796
Posted By: Okiemockbird
10-Jan-00 - 03:28 PM
Thread Name: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'
Subject: RE: BS: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'

"In the case of any work other than a work made for hire, the exclusive or nonexclusive grant of a transfer or license of copyright or of any right under a copyright, executed by the author on or after January 1, 1978, otherwise than by will, is subject to termination under the following conditions...[17 USC 203 (a)]....Termination of the grant may be effected at any time during a period of five years beginning at the end of thirty-five years from the date of execution of the grant; or, if the grant covers the right of publication of the work, the period begins at the end of thirty-five years from the date of publication of the work under the grant or at the end of forty years from the date of execution of the grant, whichever term ends earlier [203(a)(3)]"

Got that ?

The gist, as far as I can make out, seems to be that, if author A, say, creates a work and sells the copyright to publisher B (other than by will), A or A's heirs can in theory recapture the copyright, subject to conditions and quailifications, by properly completing some complex paperwork during a five-year "termination window".

Pre-1978 works are covered under special provisions in chapter 3 of Title 17.