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Joint or Co-Ownership in Copyright and Protecting IP Rights: Assignment, Licensing, Transfer, and Standing to Sue

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

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


Whether under new technologies which facilitate collaboration in creating works or more traditional collaborative efforts, such as screenplays which are often the work of many writers, it can be challenging to determine who holds what rights and to identify the proper copyright claimant.

The matter can become even more complicated when dealing with works made for hire since the test applied to determine when a work made by a non-employee is a work for hire is very different under the 1909 and 1976 Acts. And on top of all this, the current copyright registration and recordation scheme makes it difficult to track the chain of title for many works.

Often even the most important works are created without clear documentation. Because the law on copyright ownership is complex and often non-intuitive, many assumptions by persons outside the copyright bar are wrong.

Issues with copyright ownership can lead to even larger problems. Joint copyright owners are each authorized to license the work as they deem fit. Copyright ownership also impacts standing to sue and many other areas.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys addresses how to avoid these issues. The panel will then explore recent case law addressing how ownership vests and what rights flow from that ownership. The panel will examine the creative ways to use copyright licensing and provide best practice tips for copyright due diligence.



  1. Establishing Co-Ownership
    1. Sufficiency of authorship
    2. Derivative works
    3. Transfer of rights & work for hire
    4. Foreign works
  2. Rights of Co-owners
    1. Rights to commercially exploit the copyright
    2. Right / standing to sue for infringement
    3. Divisibility questions: When is co-owner consent required?
    4. Disputes between co-owners
    5. Termination Rights
  3. Due diligence to determine ownership/Best practices


The panel will review these and other relevant questions:

  • What happens when a subdivided interest in a copyright is itself co-owned?
  • What rights does each co-owner have in the copyright?
  • What steps should counsel and copyright owners take to protect the copyright interest?


Doniger, Stephen
Stephen M. Doniger, Esq.

Doniger / Burroughs

Mr. Doniger focuses on business disputes in general and intellectual property in particular, representing...  |  Read More

Friedberg, Randy
Randy M. Friedberg

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Mr. Friedberg is a member of the firm’s business department. As a seasoned intellectual property attorney, he has...  |  Read More

Sholder, Scott
Scott J. Sholder

Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard

Mr. Sholder’s practice focuses on litigation, counseling, and dispute resolution in entertainment, media and...  |  Read More

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