Licenses and Transfers

The need for copyright licenses and assignments can arise in a variety of circumstances. For example, a company that engages an independent contractor to create original works, including textual materials or computer software, should consider whether to seek a copyright assignment from the contractor. In many cases, a license rather than an assignment will be appropriate. A license enables a party to use a copyrighted work in ways specified in the license agreement, but does not transfer ownership of the copyright. Copyright assignments and licenses are commonly used in the fields of software development and consulting, publishing, visual arts and performing arts. Our attorneys have experience in negotiating and drafting copyright assignments and licenses of all types. For more information, contact an attorney in our Copyright Practice Group.

The U.S. Copyright Office publishes circulars concerning copyright licenses, transfers, and other topics. These circulars can be obtained by calling the Copyright Office at (202) 707-3000 or by visiting the Copyright Office’s home page. For information relating to transfer of copyright, request Circulars 12, 15a and 15t.