Reversion of Rights
Many times authors early in their careers will transfer their copyrights to publishers in order to have their works published. There are many reasons for doing this, but most often in academe the decision to transfer copyright in exchange for having the work published revolves around promotion and tenure. Congress recognized that there is unequal bargaining power in such a situation and added a section to the U.S. Copyright law which allows authors under certain conditions to reclaim their copyright from the publish.
For transfers of copyright that have been made by authors on or after January 1, 1978:
Example: If the work is published in 1978, then the termination window is 2013-2018. The notice must be submitted no later than 2016 and no earlier than 2003.
For transfers of copyright that have been made by authors prior to January 1, 1978:
Example: If the copyright is secured in 1944, then the termination window is 2009-2014. The notice must be submitted no later than 2012 and no earlier than 1999.
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