Copyright Transfer

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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danielb
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Copyright Transfer

Post by danielb » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:39 pm

Hello everyone,

I have a team of writers providing text content for my web project and they agreed to transfer the copyright to my company, so I can fully own my website content under the copyright law.

Is there any legal form they can sign to confirm the transfer without involving a solicitor (high fees)?

Thanks in advance!
Daniel

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:43 am

Hi Daniel,
Assignment of copyright is relatively straightforward, but it must be done in writing. An assignment is a basic contract and so it needs to contain the basic elements of a contract, namely details of the two parties, a note of the consideration (the money you are paying for the work to be done) and details of what is being transferred to you. In theory an assignment can have conditions, so to avoid any ambiguity it is worth stating that the assignment is absolute. And finally it must be signed and dated by the assignor as a minimum. The assignee doesn't need to sign but it is sensible to do so as it confirms that both parties wish to be bound by the contract. There is no need for witnesses. If you feel this is too technical for you to do yourself, you can get off-the-shelf forms such as this: Own-it.
Don't forget that the writers are entitled to a credit for their work, if they choose to assert it. This is a moral right and can't be assigned, so it is sensible to include a clause in the document which makes it clear if, and if so how, the writers wish to assert their right to a credit.
If you intend for the same writers to maintain the site in the future, make sure that the assignment document includes a mention about future changes and makes it clear whether they will be covered by this agreement or subject to separate agreements as they occur. For simplicity it is easier for the single assignment document cover any such changes, but clearly you need to consult the writers before including a clause to this affect.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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