Ownership of Copyright At A Glance

Ownership of Copyright At A Glance

Ownership of Copyright At A Glance

When an author has copyright ownership of a work, he or she has the rights to the work and can use, license, transfer, and sell the work. In copyright law, the work is usually any idea that is conveyed through a specific medium. A person does not have ownership of a copyright until an idea is presented through musical pieces, motion pictures, photographs, drawings, or paintings. So, how is ownership of a copyright determined?

Initial Ownership

An artistic work is copyrighted to the author of the work the minute that it is completed. Initial ownership can be granted to several authors, as long as each person contributed to the overall creation of the work. If the work has been created by two or more authors, then the copyright is granted for co-ownership to the authors.

What Are Works Made for Hire?

If a person creates a work for his or her employer or another person or entity for which the author was hired, the work is owned by the hirer. The only way in which an author can gain ownership of a work when performing duties for an employer is if both entities agree and sign a written contract that the author owns all copyrights to the work.

Contributions to Collective Works

The copyrights that are present for separate contributions to a work of collections is different than the copyright to the collective work itself. Initially, the work is considered to be copyrighted for the author of the contributing work. If a transfer of copyright ownership is not present, then it is assumed that the author compiling a collective work has acquired the rights to reproduce and distribute the works present within the collective work.

The Transfer of Ownership

The transfer of ownership of any copyright may be done as a whole or in part by any means of operation by law. Ownership can be transferred by a will or may be passed as personal property under the laws of intestate succession. All rights which are given by ownership of copyrights may also be transferred unless a clause in a contract exists.

Involuntary transfer of copyrights and all exclusive rights that come with it which have not been previously transferred may not be transferred through seizure, expropriation, or transfer by any governmental body, organization, or official. In other words, no entity may forcefully transfer the rights of a copyright protection without the consent of the original author of a work.




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Quick Overview of Copyright Ownership Background