How Are Joint Works Treated Under Copyright Laws?

How Are Joint Works Treated Under Copyright Laws?

Copyright laws play a significant role in ensuring the work you create is protected and helping you receive the rights and compensation you are entitled to. This does not change if you and another person decide to produce a joint work together. Whether this is a screenplay for a movie you want to create or you’re part of a team of authors collaborating on a publication, understanding joint works and your rights surrounding them is critical. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading to learn how copyright law handles works by two or more authors and why it’s in your best interest to consult with a Bergen County, NJ copyrights attorney.

What Are Joint Works?

When two or more creators collaborate on a work, it is considered a joint creation. Generally, this is one work but also can be two intertwined creations that rely on the other to make sense, such as chapters in a book or anything that becomes interdependent on the work of the other. Joint works can be in any traditional form, including text, screenplays, movies, paintings, music, or plays.

Who Has Ownership?

In joint works, both creators are considered co-owners of the copyright and are both entitled to equal shares of ownership. Though this may seem simple enough, many issues can arise because of this. When you own a copyright, even as a co-owner, you have all the rights to the work and can use them as you deem fit. As such, if one author wants to sell the rights, they do not need to consult the other before doing so. The only requirement is they share the profits evenly with the other owner.

How Can I Protect Myself When Creating a Joint Work?

If you want to create a joint work with another person, understanding what you can do to protect yourself is essential. Unfortunately, many people are unaware they can change the default rules to create an agreement that works for them.

Generally, if you are interested in creating a collaborative work with another person, it’s in your best interest to create an agreement. This allows you and the other party to determine the terms and conditions for how you will handle the work. This can include how you want to split ownership and whether or not the owners need to agree before allowing someone else to use the rights.

As you can see, creating an agreement can help avoid conflict between the owners. However, ensuring the agreement is drafted by an attorney can ensure that the language is legally binding to help further protect you. At the Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, we understand how difficult it can be to navigate the legal complexities of copyright. That’s why we’re ready to assist you through these matters. Contact us today to learn how we can guide you through these matters.