List of Useful Documents

This tool requires a lot of fairly detailed information. Unfortunately, this is necessary because of the complexity of the legal requirements that must be fulfilled before an agreement can be terminated and the rights returned to the author. This list is designed to provide you with some suggestions as to where you may be able to look to find the information that can assist you in completing the tool.

Table of Resources and Tips

Section of the Tool Resources That May Assist Hints & Tips About These Resources

Section 1 - First, tell us a few things about the work

Information required to complete this section:

  • When the work was created
  • When the work was published
  • Whether the work carried a copyright notice
  • Whether the work's copyright was registered
  • When the agreement was entered into
  • Whether the agreement included the right of publication
Resources that may assist you in identifying relevant information for this section include:

  • Personal files, diaries and notes of the author or artist
  • Employment contracts or commissioning documents that relate to the work
  • A copy of the work
  • A Copyright Registration Certificate issued by the US Copyright Office
  • US Library of Congress Catalog
  • The agreement or transfer entered into in relation to the work that you are looking to terminate
Personal files, correspondence, diaries and notes of the author or artist - these documents may assist you in identifying when the work was created and the circumstances surrounding creation of the work (such as whether it was a special commission or created independently).

Employment contracts or commissioning documents that relate to the work - these documents may assist you in identifying whether the work was created as part of the author/artist's employment or was specially commissioned. Just because someone was employed when they crated a work, doesn't mean it was created as part of their employment so you may need to consider what the scope of their employment was and whether the work was created as part of that. For more information about this see: [link to glossary entry]

A copy of the work - the copy of the work may have a copyright notice on it. This is typically the date of first publication of the work; the date of first publication of a work may be around the same time as the date of creation. Sometimes, however, an old work will be published in a new format and the copyright notice will refer to the year of first publication of the new format.

Copyright Registration Certificate - this document is issued by the US Copyright Office and contains an initial statement of copyright information about a work including the date of publication of a work, the author and the person claiming to own copyright in the work.

US Library of Congress Catalog - online searches of this catalog can provide basic information about a work including date of publication (http://catalog.loc.gov/).

The agreement or transfer - the agreement or document surrounding the transfer may contain background information about when the work was created and the circumstances in which it was created.
Section of the Tool Resources That May Assist Hints & Tips About These Resources

Section 2 - Now, let's find out whether the work is eligible for termination

Information required to complete this section:

  • Was the agreement part of a last will & testament?
  • Was the work created in scope of the author's employment?
  • Was the work created as part of a special commission?
  • Was the work created under a work-for-hire agreement?
  • Has the agreement been re-negotiated?
  • Fid one or more of the authors enter into the agreement?
  • Was the agreeent made by the author's family or executors?
Resources that may assist you in identifying relevant information for this section include:

  • Personal files, diaries and notes of the author or artist
  • A copy of the work
  • A Copyright Registration Certificate issued by the US Copyright Office
  • US Library of Congress Catalog
  • The agreement or transfer entered into in relation to the work that you are looking to terminate
Personal files, correspondence, diaries and notes of the author or artist - these documents may assist you in identifying when the work was created.

A copy of the work - the copy of the work may have a copyright notice on it. This is typically the date of first publication of the work; the date of first publication of a work may be around the same time as the date of creation. Sometimes, however, an old work will be published in a new format and the copyright notice will refer to the year of first publication of the new format. The US Copyright Office has useful information about copyright notices including this Circular 3 (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ03.html).

Copyright Registration Certificate - this document is issued by the US Copyright Office and contains an initial statement of copyright information about a work including the date of publication of a work, the author and the person claiming to own copyright in the work.

US Library of Congress Catalog - online searches of this catalog can provide basic information about a work including date of publication (http://catalog.loc.gov/).

The agreement or transfer - the agreement or document surrounding the transfer may contain background information about when the work was created and information about when it was or should have been published.
Section of the Tool Resources That May Assist Hints & Tips About These Resources

Section 3 - Information about the work

Information that can be input into this section:

  • Title of the work (optional)
  • Copyright registration number (optional)
  • Type of agreement
  • Description of Agreement/Transfer
  • Identity of the author(s) or artist(s)
Resources that may assist you in identifying relevant information for this section include:

  • A copy of the work
  • A Copyright Registration Certificate issued by the US Copyright Office
  • US Library of Congress catalog
  • Royalty statements
  • Copyright Office records of assignments and transfers
  • The agreement or transfer entered into in relation to the work that you are looking to terminate
A copy of the work - the copy of the work may give you information about the identity of the author(s) or artist(s) and the title of the work. The copyright notice may also tell you who was the owner of copyright in the work (this person is probably the original or a subsequent grantee) at the time it was published. If the copy you are looking at it's a recent one, you may want to check later copies of the work or other records to see if the owner of copyright changed later on, after this copy was published.

Copyright Registration Certificate - this document is issued by the US Copyright Office and contains an initial statement of copyright information about a work including the date of publication of a work, the author, the person claiming to own copyright in the work at the time of filing (this person may be the original grantee) and, importantly for this section, the copyright registration number.

US Library of Congress Catalog - online searches of this catalog can provide basic information about a work including title, author, publisher (who may be an original or subsequent grantee) and date of publication (http://catalog.loc.gov/).

Royalty statements - old and current royalty statements can be useful to show who is considered the author(s) or artist(s) of a work and who is a previous or current grantee (ie. person who has the benefit of exercising some rights in exchange for paying royalties).

Copyright Office records of assignments and transfers - if a person executes an assignment of copyright ownership in relation to a work, they may record this with the US Copyright Office. It is not mandatory but many people do this so that others have notice of the transfer of rights. A research of the US Copyright Office's records of transfers may assist you in learning the identifty of an original grantee and any subsequent grantees.

The agreement or transfer - the agreement will often have either its title or somewhere in its introductory paragraphs a description of the nature of the transfer (eg. assignment, exclusive license, nonexclusive license, mortgage, security etc.).

Additional Hints & Tips:

The US Library of Congress catalog provides an online searchable catalog (http://catalog.loc.gov/). It is the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts. You may be able to access some of the Library of Congress' extensive collection if you are trying to locate a copy of a work, either onsite or via inter-library loan.

When it comes to searching the Copyright Office's records, in addition to conducting the searches yourself, you also have the option of hiring private search firms or of paying the Copyright Office to conduct the search for you (http://www.copyright.gov/forms/search_estimate.html).

START

Back to: Overview of Termination of Transfer Tool