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How Are Joint Works Handled Under Copyright Law? | CopyCat Legal

two people working together at computer

Whether you and a friend are looking to write the screenplay for a movie or are part of a team of authors working together to publish a book, understanding the role of copyright in joint works is crucial. If you are about to embark on a journey where you would share a copyright with another person, it’s imperative to contact copyright infringement lawyers to help you ensure your rights are protected. The following blog explores what you must know about joint works.

What Are Joint Works?

A joint work is something created by two or more authors to make one inseparable work or individual aspects of a unitary work. These can be any created works that are otherwise protected by copyright, such as literary texts, plays, paintings, movies, music recordings, and photographs.

An inseparable rework is a single form of authorship, like a book written by two people, while works containing multiple types of authorship are considered interdependent. These include movies that have screenplays, scores, and graphic designs.

Who Has Ownership?

If two people create a joint work, they are co-owners of the copyright. Though this may seem simple, issues can unfortunately arise. This is because they have the right to exercise ownership over the copyrighted work as they see fit, without needing permission or even consulting the other owner before proceeding. As such, each owner has the right to license a work without the consent of the other party, so long as they share half the profits with the other.

How Can I Ensure My Rights Are Protected When Working With Another Person?

It’s important to understand that the aforementioned rules are the default for those who create joint work. However, you can take additional steps to protect your work and your rights when entering a collaborative project.

One of the most important things to do is to create an agreement with the other owner. This will supersede the default copyright rules. As such, you can include terms and conditions that outline how your work is used and whether both owners need to agree before another uses the copyright. Creating an agreement is one of the most effective ways to prevent conflict between two copyright owners.

If looking to create an agreement with the other owner of your work or the other owner disregarded the rules of an established contract, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Luckily, the dedicated team at CopyCat Legal PLLC can help fight for you. We understand how frustrating it can be when your copyright is violated, especially by someone you worked with! As such, we will review the details of your case to assist you with the issues you may face. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

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