Copyright Ownership of Joint Works and Terminations of Transfers
16 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2014
Date Written: 1982
Under the terms of section 24 of the Copyright Act of 1909, the death of Oscar Hammerstein in 1960 resulted in the "partnership" of Richard Rogers and (Mrs.) Oscar Hammerstein (and James and William Hammerstein, and Alice Hammerstein Mathias, his children-the latter two by a previous marriage), in the ownership of such works as Oklahoma, Carousel, and South Pacific. Oscar Hammerstein may have wanted it that way, but want it or not, he was powerless under the Copyright Act to change the arrangement. Numerous works are the product of the combined efforts of more than one author. Such joint authorship raises problems of ownership and control that can plague joint authors and their estates. The Copyright Act of 1976 replaces the Copyright Act of 1909, and unintentionally allows contemporary Oscar Hammersteins to provide for the control of certain ownership interests, the "termination of transfer" interests, to vest in a joint author. This Article is not intended as a general treatment of all aspects of the new termination of transfer provisions under the 1976 Copyright Act, since there are already at least four such treatments. Rather, it examines one particular aspect of the form of copyright ownership among joint authors: the effect of joint tenancy or tenancy in common on the termination of transfer provision.
Keywords: Copyright, Joint Authors, Termination of Transfers
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