Useful Documents

Overview

List of Useful Documents

Because of the complexity of the legal requirements that must be fulfilled before an agreement can be terminated, this tool requires some fairly detailed information to estimate whether a work may be eligible for termination. This list provides some suggestions on where this information may be found.

Table of Resources and Tips

Section of the Tool Resources That May Assist Hints & Tips About These Resources

Section 1 – About the work

Information required to complete this section:

  • When the work was created
  • When the work was published
  • Whether the work carried a copyright notice
  • Whether the work’s copyright was registered
  • When the agreement was entered into
  • Whether the agreement included the right of publication
Resources that may assist in identifying relevant information for this section include:

  • Personal files, diaries, and notes of the author
  • A copy of the work
  • A Copyright Registration Certificate issued by the U.S. Copyright Office
  • U.S. Library of Congress Catalog
  • The agreement or transfer entered into in relation to the work in question
Personal files, correspondence, diaries, and notes of the author: these documents may assist in identifying when the work was created and/or published.

A copy of the work: the copy of the work may have a copyright notice on it. This is typically the date of first publication of the work; the date of first publication of a work may be around the same time as the date of creation. Sometimes, however, an old work will be published in a new format and the copyright notice will refer to the year of first publication of the new format. The U.S. Copyright Office has useful information about copyright notices, including this Circular 3 (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ03.html).

Copyright Registration Certificate: this document is issued by the U.S. Copyright Office will indicate that the work was registered.  It also contains an initial statement of copyright information about a work, including the date of publication of a work, the author, and the person claiming to own copyright in the work.

U.S. Library of Congress Catalog: online searches of this catalog can provide basic information about a work, including date of publication (http://catalog.loc.gov/).

The agreement or transfer: the agreement or document surrounding the transfer likely includes the date of the agreement. It may also contain information about whether the agreement included the right of publication and when it was, or should have been, published.

Section of the Tool Resources That May Assist Hints & Tips About These Resources

Section 2 – About the work’s eligibility for termination

Information required to complete this section:

  • Was the agreement part of a last will and testament?
  • Was the work created in scope of the author’s employment?
  • Was the work created as part of a special commission?
  • Was the work created under a “work made for hire” agreement?
  • Has the agreement been re-negotiated?
  • Did one or more of the authors enter into the agreement?
  • Was the agreement made by the author’s family or executors?
Resources that may assist in identifying relevant information for this section include:

  • Personal files, diaries, and notes of the author
  • Employment contracts or commissioning documents that relate to the work
  • The agreement or transfer entered into in relation to the work in question
Personal files, correspondence, diaries, and notes of the author: these documents may assist in identifying the circumstances surrounding creation of the work (such as whether it was a special commission or created independently) and information about whether the agreement was a part of a last will and testament.

Employment contracts or commissioning documents that relate to the work: these documents may assist in identifying whether the work was created as part of the author’s employment or was specially commissioned. Just because someone was employed when they created a work, doesn’t mean it was created as part of their employment, so the scope of their employment and whether the work was created as part of it need to be considered. For more information about “works made for hire,” click here.

The agreement or transfer: the agreement or document surrounding the transfer may contain information about whether the agreement has been re-negotiated, whether one or more authors entered into the agreement, and whether the agreement was made by the author’s family or executors.

Additional Hints & Tips:

The U.S. Library of Congress catalog provides an online searchable catalog (http://catalog.loc.gov/). It is the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts. It may be possible to access some of the Library of Congress’ extensive collection to locate a copy of a work, either onsite or via inter-library loan.

When it comes to searching the Copyright Office’s records, in addition to personally conducting the searches, there is also have the option of hiring private search firms or of paying the Copyright Office to conduct the search (http://www.copyright.gov/forms/search_estimate.html).

START