A few notes for non-US artists, songwriters, or their heirs:
Are you a recording artist or a songwriter with a nationality other than the United States?
Did you sign your record deal, or your publishing deal, in England? Germany? France? Canada?
Do not worry. Our law applies to you, as well.
It does not matter what your nationality is, or where the contract was signed, or the language in which your contract is written, or what the “choice of law” provision in your contract says.
You may STILL take advantage our our copyright law, with regard to the US copyright.
Surprised? You are not alone. Many of our foreign clients, as well as their managers and lawyers, were SHOCKED to hear about this law.
In fact, some of our clients have said, for instance, “my UK lawyer told me I could not do this, because the contract was signed in London.”
WRONG! And here’s the reality of the situation: Many non-US lawyers should not be rendering advice about these important issues of US copyright law.
Remember, the US is the only country to have the concept of copyright terminations. It has been part of our law since our first Copyright Act, in 1790.
Other countries? Nope. It’s life of copyright, period. If you assign a copyright, it’s something you have to live with for the rest of your life (and yes, even beyond your life; for 70 years!)
But not in the US. We have a strong tradition of copyright terminations, going back nearly 230 years.
Our firm has been involved with terminations for nearly thirty years, going back to the case of Marascalco v. Fantasy, Inc., [cite], in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of the heirs of songwriter Robert “Bumps” Blackwell to recapture one-half of the US copyright in “Good Golly Miss Molly."
So, let us take a look at your unique situation, and we will tell you what your options are.
Remember, the right to terminate expires when the notice window closes.