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Proposed Rule

Gap in Termination Provisions; Inquiry

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION:

Notice of public inquiry; request for comments; extension of comment period.

SUMMARY:

The Copyright Office is extending the time in which reply comments may be filed on the topic of the application of Title 17 to the termination of certain grants of transfers or licenses of copyright, specifically those for which execution of the grant occurred prior to January 1, 1978 and creation of the work occurred on or after January 1, 1978.

DATES:

The comment period for initial comments on the Notice of Inquiry and Requests for Comments published on March 29, 2010 (75 FR 15390) closed on April 30, 2010. Reply comments are due on or before May 21, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

The Copyright Office strongly prefers that comments be submitted electronically. A comment page containing a comment form is posted on the Copyright Office Web site at http://www.copyright.gov/​docs/​termination. The Web site interface requires submitters to complete a form specifying name and organization, as applicable, and to upload comments as an attachment via a browse button. To meet accessibility standards, all comments must be uploaded in a single file in either the Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format that contains searchable, accessible text (not an image); Microsoft Word; WordPerfect; Rich Text Format (RTF); or ASCII text file format (not a scanned document). The maximum file size is 6 megabytes (MB). The name of the submitter and organization should appear on both the form and the face of the comments. All comments will be posted publicly on the Copyright Office web site exactly as they are received, along with names and organizations. If electronic submission of comments is not feasible, please contact the Copyright Office at 202-707-1027 for special instructions.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Maria Pallante, Associate Register, Policy and International Affairs, by telephone at 202-707-1027 or by electronic mail at mpall@loc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The United States Copyright Office is extending the reply comment period for commenting on the topic of the application of Title 17 to the termination of certain grants of transfers or licenses of copyright, specifically those for which execution of the grant occurred prior to January 1, 1978 and creation of the work occurred on or after January 1, 1978. This action is being taken in order to allow interested parties adequate time to give input on this important issue. Reply comments are due by 5 p.m. on May 21, 2010.

Subject of Inquiry

The Copyright Office seeks comment on the question of whether and how Title 17 provides a termination right to authors (and other persons specified by statute) when the grant was made prior to 1978 and the work was created on or after January 1, 1978. For purposes of illustration, please note the following examples:

Example 1:

A composer signed an agreement with a music publisher in 1977 transferring the copyrights to future musical compositions pursuant to a negotiated fee schedule. She created numerous compositions under the agreement between 1978 and 1983, some of which were subsequently published by the publisher-transferee. Several of these achieved immediate popular success and have been economically viable ever since. The original contract has not been amended or superseded.

Example 2:

A writer signed an agreement with a book publisher in 1977 to deliver a work of nonfiction. The work was completed and delivered on time in 1979 and was published in 1980. The book's initial print run sold out slowly, but because the author's subsequent works were critically acclaimed, it was released with an updated cover last year and is now a best seller. The rights remained with the publisher all along and the original royalty structure continues to apply.

Questions

In order to better understand the application of sections 304(c), 304(d) and 203 to the grants of transfers and licenses discussed above, the Copyright Office seeks comments as follows:

A. Experience. Please describe any experience you have in exercising or negotiating termination rights for pre-1978 grants of transfers or licenses for Start Printed Page 27249works that were created on or after January 1, 1978.

B. Interpretation. Are the grants of transfers or licenses discussed above terminable under Title 17 as currently codified? If so, under which provision? What is the basis for your determination? Are there state or federal laws other than copyright that are relevant? Is delivery of the work by the grantor to the grantee relevant to the question of termination? Is publication relevant?

C. Recommendations. Do you have any recommendations with respect to the grants of transfers or licenses illustrated above?

D. Other Issues. Are there other issues with respect to the application or exercise of termination provisions that you would like to bring to our attention for future consideration?

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Dated: May 11, 2010.

Maria Pallante,

Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs, U.S. Copyright Office.

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[FR Doc. 2010-11619 Filed 5-13-10; 8:45 am]

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