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Copyrights Entertainment and Sports Law Intellectual Property Litigation

‘Executed By the Author’ In Copyright Act’s §203 Grant Termination Provision Interpreted By Second Circuit

Composers of pre-1978 works often assigned both the initial and renewal copyright terms in their works when signing songwriter agreements with music publishers. But what happens when a grant of the copyright renewal term of a pre-1978 work has been made post-1977?

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Under Sec. 304(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act, works registered in the U.S. Copyright Office before Jan. 1, 1978, retained their initial 28-year copyright term. In addition, the 1976 Act added 19 years to the 28-year copyright renewal term for those works and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 added 20 more, for a total renewal term of 67 years for pre-1978 works.

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