Copyright Compendium

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2310.4 (C) When May a Grant Be Terminated Under Section 304 (C)?

2310.4 (C) When May a Grant Be Terminated Under Section 304 (C)?


A grant may be terminated under Section 304 (C) during a five-year termination period. The beginning and the end of this period are based on the month, day, and year that copyright was originally secured in the work. Specifically, the termination period begins fifty-six years after the date that the work was originally secured or January 1, 1978, whichever is later. The termination period ends sixty-one years after the original registration or publication date.


NOTE: The beginning and end of the termination period is not based on the beginning or end of the calendar year, unless the work happened to be registered or published on January 1st or December 31st.


To terminate a transfer or license under Section 304 (C), the author or the author’s heirs

(if the author is deceased) must comply with the following requirements:


• Select an effective date of termination that falls within the five-year termination period (e.g., at least fifty-six years after the date that the work was originally registered or published with a proper copyright notice (whichever is earlier), but no more than sixty-one years after the original date of registration or publication);


• Serve a notice of termination on the grantee or the grantee’s successor in title not less than two years and not more than ten years before the effective date of termination; and


• Record the notice with the U.S. Copyright Office before the effective date of termination.


If the author or the author’s heirs (if the author is deceased) select an effective date that does not fall within the five-year termination period, fail to serve the notice in a timely manner, or fail to record the notice before the effective date, the termination will be invalid.


The Office has developed a table that may be useful in identifying the beginning and ending of the termination period for a grant that is eligible for termination under Section 304 (C). This table may also be useful in selecting an effective date of termination and for calculating the relevant deadlines for serving a notice of termination on the grantee and for recording the notice with the Office.