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A Copyright Assignment Agreement ("Assignment Agreement") is a legal document that facilitates the transfer of ownership of copyrighted work from the original creator or owner, known as the "Assignor", to another person or entity, known as the "Assignee".
There are different classes of copyright including:
It is optional to register the copyrighted work with the Registrar of Copyrights through Copyright Office. It is important to note that copyrighted protection arises automatically upon the creation of a work. However, registering copyrighted work provides additional legal benefits, such as evidence of ownership and the ability to seek legal remedies in case of infringement of copyrighted work (someone without authorization using it).
As per the copyright Act, 1957, the assignment of copyright has to be done by execution of the assignment deed in writing. Both the registered and unregistered copyright under the Act can be assigned to a third party.
An Assignment Agreement is different from a License Agreement. Under an Assignment Agreement, the Assignor gives away all or major rights over the copyright for a fixed amount or consideration and may not be entitled to use such copyright.
On other hand, under the License Agreement, the copyright owner grants permission to another person to utilize the copyright in a particular manner for a limited period of time. In this case license agreement should be used instead.
The Assignment Agreement can be of two types:
(1) Assignment with goodwill
The Assignor transfers absolute rights and values associated with the copyright to the Assignee. After entering into this Agreement, the Assignor will not be able to use any works related to the copyright.
For example, ABC Ltd owns various copyrighted works under the label "Evergreen production", if the copyright is assigned with goodwill, all the works associated with Evergreen productions will belong to the Assignee.
(2) Assignment without goodwill
Under this type of the assignment, the copyright related to particular work will be assigned to the Assignee and the Assignor will retain the right to use and assign the works which are not assigned to the Assignee under this Agreement.
For example, XYZ Ltd publishes books under the label "Green Publication" by assigning a book named "Nurture Nature", the Assignee cannot use other works under Green Publication.
How to use this document?
This Agreement covers the following major provisions:
Parties: The type and details of the parties i.e. Assignor and Assignee are included under this Agreement. The Parties can be an individual, company, partnership, LLP and so on.
Description of copyright: the details about the copyright can be mentioned under this Agreement. If required, a detailed description can be mentioned under Schedule-A to the Agreement.
Assignment of copyright: defines the assignment of copyright and denotes whether the copyright is assigned with or without goodwill.
Consideration: It includes the method of calculation of consideration payable by the Assignee, how it will be paid to the Assignor and who will bear the cost of GST (Goods and Services Tax) payable on such transaction. This clause also includes the penalty for any late payment of Consideration by the Assignee.
Warranties: The warranties or promises by both the Assignor and Assignee regarding their capacity to enter into this Agreement, ownership over the copyright, compliance with the terms of this Agreement and laws are included. If required, such additional warranties can be mentioned under this clause.
Confidentiality: Under this, both parties agree not to disclose confidential information including trade secrets, know-how, plans and so on to any third parties. If required, a separate detailed non-disclosure agreement can be signed between the parties.
If the period of assignment is not mentioned in the Assignment Agreement, by default, the assignment period will be 5 (five) years. If the territory of the assignment is not mentioned in the Assignment Agreement, the default territory would be India.
Once the details are filled in, this Agreement can be printed on non-judicial stamp paper of value prescribed by the concerned state where this Agreement is executed. The Agreement must be signed by two independent witnesses who are not a party to this Agreement or must be notarized by a notary located where this Agreement has been executed. Both witnesses and notarization also can be done.
The assignment of copyright is covered under the Copyright Act, 1957.
An Assignment Agreement is a contract and general principles of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 will be applicable.
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A guide to help you: Essential Factors for Successful Copyright Assignment: Protecting Rights and Avoiding Disputes
Other names for the document: Deed of Assignment of Copyright, Copyright Assignment Contract, Copyrights transfer agreement, Art work assignment agreement, Song assignment agreement