Copyright Compendium

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2310.5 (A) What Types of Grants May Be Terminated Under Section 304 (D)?

 

2310.5 (A) What Types of Grants May Be Terminated Under Section 304 (D)?

 

In 1998 Congress amended the copyright law by adding another twenty years to the copyright term. For works that were protected by copyright as of January 1, 1978, the length of the copyright term was extended to ninety-five years, consisting of an initial term of twenty-eight years and a renewal term of sixty-seven years.

 

At the same time, Congress created a procedure that allows an author or the author’s heirs to terminate a grant that transferred or licensed the copyright to a third party and to reclaim the copyright for the duration of the twenty-year extension. This procedure is set forth under Section 304 (D) of the Copyright Act.

 

Section 304 (D) may be used to terminate a grant executed before January 1, 1978 involving the copyright in the renewal term or any right under the renewal term, provided that the following requirements have been met:

 

• The grant involves the copyright in a work that was originally registered or published with notice between January 1, 1923 and October 26, 1939.

 

• The grant was executed by one or more of the following parties:

 

‚àí The author.

 

‚àí The author’s widow, widower, or children.

 

‚àí The author’s executors.

 

‚àí The author’s next of kin.

 

• The author or the author’s heirs have not exercised the right to terminate the grant under Section 304 (C) of the Copyright Act.

 

Grants executed on or after January 1, 1978 are not subject to termination under Section 304 (D). This provision does not apply to grants involving a work that was originally registered or published on or after October 27, 1939. It does 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. Likewise, it does not apply if the author or the author’s heirs already exercised their right to terminate under Section 304 (C).

 

17 U.S.C. § 304 (D); 37 C.F.R. § 201.10.