What is Copyright Assignment?

Copyright Assignment is the transfer of ownership rights from the owner to another individual or company. This can be done for a specific period of time or over exchange of money.

The owner can transfer the rights either partly or wholly. After the copyright assignment, the assignor (copyright owner) cannot exercise any right over his creation.

Documents for Copyright Assignment

The assignment agreement specifies the owner as the assignor and the other party as the assignee.  The application for assignment can be filed either by the copyright owner or by an attorney or agent. Following documents are attached with the application.

Note: The application needs to be submitted at the Copyright Office either by visiting physically or by post.

Essentials for Assignment

The copyright assignment will be considered valid only when it fulfills the following conditions.

  • The agreement needs to be duly signed by the assignor or by the authorised agent.
  • The assignment must clearly specify the assigned rights and the time period of the agreement.
  • The assignment must specify the amount of royalty payable to the author of the copyrighted work.
  • If the assignee does not exercise the given rights within one year from the date of assignment, the agreement is said to have lapsed and the assignment stands canceled.
  • An assignment for future work would come into force only when the work is created and expressed in a tangible form.
  • In the absence of the term of assignment, the assignment will be considered for 5 years.
Note - The creator can also assign specific rights. For example - The author can assign the right to reproduction but can withhold the right to making derivatives.

Moral Rights for the Owner

Even after copyright assignment, the moral rights rests with the creator of the work. The creator has the right to claim for any damage, unauthorised modification or misrepresentation in the copyrighted work within the validity of the assignment agreement.

The owner can also seek for the damages if the assignee causes harm to the goodwill and reputation of the creator through inappropriate use of the assignment.

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