U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 15 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 5, 2021
Copyright termination laws in the United States allow creators to end their copyright assignments and licences after 35 years or longer and regain their rights. These laws are designed to protect authors and their heirs by giving them a second opportunity to profit from their works, where they might have assigned them initially for relatively little. Similar laws are being recommended around the world. However, there is little data on how these laws are being used. Such data is vital because it provides insights into the pros and cons of different systems. We fill this gap by providing the first large-scale study of copyright termination notice records from the U.S. Copyright Office. Utilising data scraping and manipulation techniques in the Python programming language, we have created two brand new datasets for scholars, copyright experts, creators, publishers, and other industry stakeholders to examine. In our accompanying paper, we document some preliminary trends from the data and how it might be used for further analysis.
This is a pre-peer reviewed version of a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Minor changes have been made since submission and will be reflected in the published version. Changes may also be made in response to peer review.
Keywords: Copyright, Termination, Reversion, § 203, § 304
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