Heard an interesting story on copyright termination on NPR last night: Taking Back ‘Funkytown’: Songwriters Prepare For A Custody Battle By Joel Rose. This in turn led me to a New York Times article on the same general topic: A Copyright Victory, 35 Years Later – NYTimes.com.
The gist of these stories is that it turns out UC Copyright law has a “termination” provision which allows artists / writers / etc to terminate copyright agreements that they made for work they produced. This is allowed 35 years after the copyright was assigned. And many musicians are using this provision of copyright law to reacquire some works they made three and a half decades ago.
So – I am asking the world out there – could this same provision be applied to scientific or academic works? Would this be a way to move a lot of material that is behind a wall back into the hands of authors and/or into the public domain? I am looking into doing this with work published by my father as a test case (as part of my long struggle of Freeing My Father’s Publications (since termination rights apparently transfer to family members if the holder passes away as my dad did in 1987).
So – anyone out there know if this termination has been used for scientific or academic works?
UPDATE: Other reading
- U.S. Copyright Office – Copyright Law: Chapter 2
- Navigating US Copyright Termination Rights – WIPO
- United States Copyright Termination Rights: What Does the Future …
- Copyright Termination Rights: Giving Artists Their Second Bite at the …
- Superman Lawsuit Tests Copyright Termination Rights | Astronomy …