Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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2304.1 (A) Notices of Termination

2304.1 (A) Notices of Termination

The Copyright Act allows authors or their heirs, under certain circumstances, to terminate an agreement that transferred or licensed the author’s copyright to a third party. To terminate a grant, the author or the author’s heirs, must serve an advance written “notice of termination” on the grantee or the grantee’s successor-in-interest and must record a copy of that notice with the U.S. Copyright Office.

A notice of termination must be recorded before the effective date of termination specified in the notice. If a notice of termination is not recorded in a timely manner the notice will be invalid, meaning that “the agreement will continue according to its own terms” and “all rights covered by an existing grant will continue unchanged … .” H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 126, 128 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5659, 5742, 5744.

For information concerning notices of termination and the procedure for recording these types of documents, see Section 2310.

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