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How do you transfer a copyright?

If you own a copyright, one thing you may wish to do at some point is transfer it to another entity. Copyrights are personal property, and you have the right to transfer it to others if you wish. Your exclusive rights bind the idea or product to you, but you can transfer the copyright through a contract.

The United States Copyright Office does not handle the transfer of copyrights. While the office does keep track of them, it has no forms to allow you to transfer your copyright to others. Instead, you'll want to work with your attorney to create a copyright contract passing it on to another person. While you cannot transfer the copyright in the U.S. Copyright Office, you can record the transfer, which is something you should do to protect yourself and the other party.

How do you transfer a copyright?

To transfer a copyright, the first step is to talk to your attorney. There are special rules regarding copyrights that have to be addressed. For instance, did you know that you can reacquire your copyright after a period of time if the other party does not renew the claim? You do this through the termination of a transfer. This is complex, but it usually takes place in just 28 to 56 years from the time of the original transfer.

With the original transfer, you and the other party enter into a contract for a specified amount of time. Then, you notify the Copyright Office of the transfer to reassign the copyright. This is a highly specific process requiring legal know-how.

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