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Copyright Law Explained

Copyright Termination Rights

All agreements that license or transfer one or more of the exclusive rights executed by the creator of a copyrighted work on or after January 1, 1978 may be terminated by the creator who signed the agreement or his or her heirs regardless of the terms of the agreement. This provision in the copyright law is commonly referred to as termination rights. This right can only be exercised during a five-year window that opens on the thirty-fifth year after the agreement took effect. (Similarly, all licenses or transfers executed by creators or certain of the creator’s heirs prior to January 1, 1978 covering copyrights secured before that date also are terminable but the window for doing so is at the end of the fifty sixth year after the copyright was secured.)

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