Co-Ownership in Copyright: Protecting IP Rights

Avoiding Co-Ownership Pitfalls After Influential 2d and 9th Circuit Decisions

Supreme Court lets Davis v. Blige stand

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Program Materials

This seminar will examine co-ownership of copyright, discuss the impact of recent federal appellate court decisions, and offer best practices to protect ownership rights.


Recent Federal Circuit decisions are turning copyright co-ownership on its head. The Second Circuit in Davis v. Blige, cert. denied (U.S. Oct. 6, 2008) potentially undermines fundamental co-ownership of copyright principles and bans retroactive licenses and agreements.

In Sybersound Records v. UAV Corp., the Ninth Circuit held the transfer of an interest in a divisible copyright from a co-owner, without a like transfer from the other co-owners, is not an assignment or exclusive license that gives a co-ownership interest to the transferee.

Copyright co-ownership includes collaboration on written work, music or software — or selling rights to two or more people. The question remains: can one musician license a co-written song for use in a film or just one of a product's programmers sell an application to a software maker?

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys examines the principles and practices of copyright co-ownership and the potential impact of recent decisions in the federal circuit courts. The panel will offer their perspectives on best practices to protect such ownership rights.



  1. Co-ownership in copyright
    1. Assignment rights
    2. Transfer rights
    3. Standing to sue for infringement
    4. Limitations
  2. Copyright Act and court treatment
    1. Copyright Act
    2. Second Circuit
    3. Ninth Circuit
    4. Other jurisdictions
  3. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What impact could the Second Circuit's ruling have on the copyright landscape?
  • What happens when a subdivided interest in a copyright is itself co-owned?
  • What rights do each co-owner have in the copyright?
  • What steps should counsel and copyright owners take to protect the copyright interest?


David E. Weslow
David E. Weslow


He focuses his practice on litigation, prosecution, counseling and licensing of trademarks, copyrights and domain...  |  Read More

Paul C. Jorgensen
Paul C. Jorgensen

The Jorgensen Law Firm

He has successfully prosecuted many U.S. and international trademark, copyright, domain name applications, and has...  |  Read More

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