Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing

Today’s Quiz

Does this check transfer copyright ownership?

Check to GuzmanIf you can’t see the image, the check (which was cashed) is for $75.00 and on the memo line says “For rights to song ‘Dos Horas De Vida.” What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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2 responses to “Today’s Quiz”

  1. Robert Pierce

    It certainly is lacking in formalities. The Copyright Act requires that a valid transfer be a written instrument, note, or memorandum and signed by the copyright owner. If you squint really hard, the check looks like it could be some sort of signed written conveyance.

    The check is a written note. The note field identifies the parties to the transfer and the copyright at issue and specifies that the rights are being transferred. Assuming he is the copyright owner, Mr. Guzman signed the note or check when he endorsed it.

    However, if I were deciding the case, I would have a hard time finding this resemblance to a transfer to be valid. There are too many ambiguities in the identity of the copyright and the rights being transferred to be considered a written instrument as opposed to merely a method of payment. Moreover, the purpose of Mr. Guzman’s signature is ambiguous. An endorsement on a check is not the same as a signature on a written instrument to clearly identifies the copyright and the rights to be transferred.

  2. […] previously asked whether the below check transferred copyright […]

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