How Can This Tool Assist You?
What Does This Mean For You?
What Does This Tool Do?
How Do I Get Started?

Legal Concepts

agreement or transfer
author or artist
author's family or representative
copyright law
creative work
notice window
participating law clinics

Welcome to the Creative Commons Termination of Transfer Tool. On this page we briefly explain what termination of transfer is all about, and how this tool can work for you.

How can this tool assist you?

Are you the creator of a book, a cartoon, a screenplay, a movie, a piece of artwork, or some other type of creative work that is protected by U.S. copyright law?

Or, are you a family member or representative of an author or artist?

Was that copyrighted work sold or licensed to someone else who is now reaping commercial rewards from it (with little return to you)?

Would you like to get back control over the work?

If so, this tool may help you in identifying whether you can regain control of rights that were sold or licensed away. For example, if the work was published between 1929 and 1939 or between 1948 and 1961, or if the agreement selling or licensing rights in the work is dated between 1978 and 1982, you may have the ability to regain rights in 2007 (if other requirements are met).

For more detailed information about the law surrounding the "termination of transfers" provisions or this tool, please take a look at our FAQ. To move through the tool, use the navigation links on the right or the bottom of the page. And don't be shy about clicking on scary looking legal terms; we've put important definitions for you in our Glossary.

What does this mean for you?

US copyright law allows an author or artist (and sometimes a family member or authorized representative) - in certain circumstances - to cancel an agreement (also known as a transfer) under which the rights to a copyrighted work were sold or licensed, particularly when the agreement was made many years ago - before anyone knew how successful or profitable that work would become. These provisions of the US Copyright Act are commonly called the "termination of transfer" provisions. If an agreement can be cancelled, this allows the person who reclaims the rights (which is generally the author or artist or their immediate family) to negotiate new and hopefully better licenses and other deals with knowledge of the actual market value of their work.

What does this tool do?

This tool is designed to make people more aware of the "termination of transfer" provisions and to make it easier for people to identify if they have a "termination right" under U.S. copyright law. If a termination right may exist, the tool calculates - based on the information you provide - whether that termination right can be exercised now and then gathers some basic details about the work that is useful and relevant to preparing a "termination notice." This information can then be passed on to either a lawyer or a participating law clinic, who can then assist you in exercising your termination rights. While this tool is in a BETA stage, however, this information will simply be summarized and presented in an Information Sheet.

To learn more about the information that you will need in order to complete the tool, click here.

How do I get started?

To start working through the tool and see if you may be able to terminate an existing agreement, click here.


Please note, this tool is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice, or a substitute for legal advice.