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Copyright Recapture

Second Chance Copyright Recapture - We can help you get your bundle of rights back and exploit your creative works of authorship

Listen to Attorney Steve® explain copyright recapture process


As noted by the Copyright office website:

The Copyright Act permits authors or their heirs, under certain circumstances, to terminate the exclusive or nonexclusive grant of a transfer or license of an author's copyright in a work or of any right under a copyright. These termination provisions are set forth in 17 USC §§ 203304(c), and 304(d), with the applicable provision depending on a number of factors, including when the grant was made, who executed it, and when copyright was originally secured for the work. These provisions are intended to protect authors and their heirs against unremunerative agreements by giving them an opportunity to share in the later economic success of their works by allowing authors or their heirs, during particular periods of time long after the original grant, to regain the previously granted copyright or copyright rights. Note that grants made via a will or involving a work made for hire may not be terminated under these provisions (for more information about works made for hire, refer to Circular 30). Additionally, there is a limitation on termination where derivative works are concerned. A derivative work prepared pursuant to a grant before its termination may continue to be utilized under the terms of the grant after its termination, but the post-termination rights to authorize new uses of the derivative work that are not covered by the grant and to prepare new derivative works revert to the authors or their heirs.

To terminate a grant, a written, signed notice of termination must be served on the relevant grantee (i.e., the individual or entity that received the grant that is being terminated) or the grantee's successor in interest, and a copy of the as-served notice must be properly recorded with the Copyright Office. For more information about notices of termination, including their required form and content, see 17 USC §§ 203304(c), or 304(d), as applicable; 37 CFR § 201.10; and the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices (Chapter 2300: Recordation)."

Attorney Steve® Tip:  Here is a link to the termination cover sheet

How to Record a Notice of Termination with the Copyright Office

Any notice of termination submitted to the Office for recordation must comply with the Copyright Act's statutory requirements (17 USC §§ 203304(c)304(d)) and the Office's regulations (37 CFR § 201.10(f)) and instructions, including the following:

  • The submitted notice must be a true, correct, complete, and legible copy of the signed notice of termination as served on the grantee or successor in title. 37 CFR § 201.10(f)(1)(i)(A).
  • The submitted notice must be accompanied by a statement setting forth the date on which the notice was served and the manner of service, unless such information is contained in the notice itself. 37 CFR § 201.10(f)(1)(i)(B).
  • The submitted notice must have been timely served and must have an effective date of termination that is later than the date of recordation. 37 CFR § 201.10(f)(1)(ii).
  • The submitted notice must be accompanied by the correct filing fee as specified by 37 CFR § 201.3(c).

Additionally, all notices submitted for recordation must be accompanied by the Office's notice of termination cover sheet (Form TCS). Completing Form TCS helps remitters ensure that they are providing all necessary information and assists Office staff in processing the submission. Form TCS and instructions for completing it can be found here.

Copyright Office–Notices of Termination P.O. Box 71537 Washington, DC 20024-1537

Contact a Federal Copyright Lawyer

We can help artists and authors recapture their copyrights and file notice of termination with the copyright office.  Call us at (877) 276-5084 or leave us a message through our contact form.

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For more information, or to discuss your case or our experience and qualifications please contact us at (877) 276-5084. Please note that our firm does not represent you unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed, and any applicable legal fees are paid. All initial conversations are general in nature. Free consultations are limited to time and availability of counsel and will depend on the type of case you are calling about (no free consultations for other lawyers). All users and potential clients are bound by our Terms of Use Policies. We look forward to working with you!
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