How to Sell Half of a Joint Authorship Copyright

by Timothy Mucciante Google

A copyright protects creators of original works, including literature, drama, music and art. An issued copyright may be owned by two people, and one of the owners may decide to sell his half-interest in the copyright. Divorce, a charitable donation or just needing the cash may all be reasons motivating a copyright originator to sell his half interest. An issued copyright is an asset and may be bought and sold, which should be documented like the sale of any other asset.

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Step 1

Prepare a copyright assignment/transfer agreement. There is no standardized form issued by the U.S. Copyright Office for assignments or transfers of copyright ownership between two parties. Third-party document providers can supply a template to you, which may be used to customize your own copyright assignment/transfer agreement. This agreement should contain the name of the persons selling and buying the copyright interest, the title and registration number of the copyright, the effective date of the assignment/transfer and the consideration to be paid for the assignment/transfer.

Step 2

Sign the assignment/transfer agreement selling your interest in the copyright. A copyright owner can transfer any portion of his exclusive rights to another, but the transfer is not valid unless it's in writing, signed by the owner of the copyright. A transfer of a nonexclusive interest in a copyright does not need to be in writing. Even if a copyright is jointly owned, each owner has exclusive rights to his portion of the copyright

Step 3

Complete the Copyright Office Document Cover Sheet (DCS) to record the assignment/transfer agreement. Although the DCS is not required by the Copyright Office, it is preferred to facilitate document filings. Two copies of the cover sheet should accompany each document, and the cover sheet must be completed neatly, either typed or printed. Mail two copies of the DCS along with the copyright transfer agreement and applicable fee to: Library of Congress, Copyright Office-DOC, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20559-6216. Recording of copyright assignments/transfers may not be done online.