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Charlotte Christine Towne

Charlotte Towne’s Answers

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  • If I want to be the sole owner of a song I co-wrote, what details do I need to secure before filing the copyright?

    Lets say I co-wrote a song with a friend, 50/50, and we haven't yet filed the copyright for it. I want to be the sole owner of the copyright for this song. Can I have my friend fill out a copyright transfer contract (prior to us registering the so...

    Charlotte’s Answer

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    In order for you to own the song 100%, your co-writer would have to sign a written agreement that assigns 100% of all of their right, title and interest in the copyright over to you (i.e., a transfer of copyright /copyright assignment). There would have to be consideration (exp. payment or some other benefit conveyed from you to your co-writer) in order for the assignment to be effective and that should be referenced in the written agreement. The consideration does not have to be a lot. It is best if you hire an attorney to draft the agreement for you and advise you on these issues because there is other language that you should include in the agreement to protect yourself, including but not limited to warranties and indemnification. Also, you wouldn't file with the USPTO. That's for patents and trademarks. Instead, the copyright is registered through the U.S. Copyright Office. Regarding copyright registration, my recommendation is to hire an intellectual property attorney who specializes in music law to assist you with the registration once the agreement is executed.

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