Copyright Compendium

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2310.2 What Types of Grants May Be Terminated?

 

2310.2 What Types of Grants May Be Terminated?

 

Sections 203, 304 (C), and 304 (D) allow authors or their heirs to terminate an exclusive or nonexclusive transfer or license of the copyright in the author’s work or an exclusive or nonexclusive transfer or license of any right under a copyright. This includes assignments, mortgages, exclusive licenses, or any other conveyances, alienations, or hypothecations of a copyright or any of the exclusive rights comprised in a copyright.

 

However, the termination provisions do not apply to grants made by will, grants involving a work made for hire, or grants involving rights arising under any other federal, state, or foreign law.

 

Determining whether a particular grant is subject to termination under Sections 203, 304 (C), or 304 (D) depends on a number of factors, including the date the grant was executed, the person(s) who executed the grant, and in some cases, the date that copyright was secured in the work.

 

 

• Section 203 only applies to grants executed by the author on or after January 1, 1978, regardless of whether the copyright in the work was secured before or after that date.

 

• Section 304 (C) only applies to grants executed before January 1, 1978, and only if the copyright in the work was secured before January 1, 1978.

 

• Section 304 (D) only applies to grants executed before January 1, 1978, and only if the copyright in the work was secured between January 1, 1923 and October 26, 1939.

 

The Office has developed a series of questionnaires that may be useful in determining whether a particular grant may be eligible for termination under Sections 203, 304 (C), or 304 (D). These questionnaires are set forth in Section 2310.13.

 

The specific procedures for terminating a grant under Section 203 are discussed in Section 2310.3. The specific procedures for terminating a grant under Sections 304 (C) and 304 (D) are discussed in Sections 2310.4 and 2310.5.

 

17 U.S.C. §§ 203, 304 (C), 304 (D).