How to Reclaim Your Copyrights

Have you ever assigned or licensed your music copyrights to a publishing company or other entity and then wished you could take it back? The contract says that you are assigning your rights for the full duration of the copyright which is your life plus another 75 years. Of course, you may be receiving royalties from the exploitation of the copyright during that time. However, what if they were not doing anything with the song and you were helpless to do anything with it yourself? 

For those who do not know copyright law, that may seem like the end of the story. However, allow me to be your messenger of HOPE. Under the 1976 Copyright Act, creators (and their heirs) of works transferred or assigned by them to another on or after January 1, 1978, may terminate the assignment and recapture their copyrights within a five (5) year window beginning thirty five (35) years after the date of grant. This statutory right to terminate and recapture is found in 17 U.S.C. Section 203 and specifically does not apply to works-made-forhire. Therefore, the copyright recapture period will begin for some in 2013. However, it is not automatic. There are specific instructions in the code that have to be met in order to take advantage of this right. Failure to follow the rules could cost you the right to recapture.

If you or someone you know may be able to take advantage of this right, be sure to familiarize yourself with the law or seek counsel from your attorney. 

The articles and/or legal tips provided by Angela Green, Esq. are for informational purposes only, concerning general legal principles. You should consult your legal counsel for answers to specific legal questions. LEGAL Brief BY ANGELA D GREEN, ESQ. TERMS EVERY MUSIC ARTIST SHOULD KNOW Copyright The exclusive rights granted to authors and composers for protection of their works; a song or musical composition.

Angela Green is an entertainment attorney in Memphis, Tennessee and Vice President of On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival. She is also part owner of Key II Entertainment, an artist management company and founder/CEO of music publishing and registration Service Positioned for Millions.

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About Airplay 360

AIRPLAY 360 is a monthly published digital magazine designed to inform, empower and motivate independent inspirational musical artists by offering a soundboard of information provided by artists, producers, label executives and other industry professionals.
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