Yuvaraj et al. (2021)
|Yuvaraj et al. (2021)|
|Title:||U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets|
|Author(s):||Yuvaraj, J., Giblin, R., Russo-Batterham, D., Grant, G.|
|Citation:||Yuvaraj, J., Giblin, R., Russo-Batterham, D. and Grant, G. (2021) U.S. Copyright Termination Notices 1977-2020: Introducing New Datasets. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (forthcoming)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study constructs two datasets through web scraping of US Copyright Office Catalog. The data pertains to copyright termination notice records filed between 1977 and 2020, in respect of both § 203 and § 304 of the US Copyright Act. The datasets total 13,291 unique notices corresponding to 109,899 titles. Thereafter, the study offers initial descriptive statistics of the characteristics of the datasets.|
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“Copyright termination laws in the United States allow creators to end their copyright assignments and licences after 35 years or longer and regain their rights. These laws are designed to protect authors and their heirs by giving them a second opportunity to profit from their works, where they might have assigned them initially for relatively little. Similar laws are being recommended around the world. However, there is little data on how these laws are being used. Such data is vital because it provides insights into the pros and cons of different systems. We fill this gap by providing the first large-scale study of copyright termination notice records from the U.S. Copyright Office. Utilising data scraping and manipulation techniques in the Python programming language, we have created two brand new datasets for scholars, copyright experts, creators, publishers, and other industry stakeholders to examine. In our accompanying paper, we document some preliminary trends from the data and how it might be used for further analysis.
This is a pre-peer reviewed version of a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Minor changes have been made since submission and will be reflected in the published version. Changes may also be made in response to peer review.”
Main Results of the Study
• The study observes increases in filings of termination notices in 1978, 1988 and 2000, with a notable decline between 2016 - 2019.
• The vast majority of termination notices are filed in respect of works of performing arts (92% of all titles), with substantially less in respect of literary works (7.3%), sound recordings (0.1%) and art (0.04%). The study remarks upon the relative neglect of literary works, contextualising that termination notices account for approximately 0.04% of corresponding copyright registrations. Of these literary works, the study suggests that only those with enduring value, which are e.g. used in subsequent movie/tv adaptations, are frequently terminated.
• Musicians and songwriters file termination notices in respect of the largest overall number of works. However, of literary works, the top 10 parties account for over 65% of all termination notices in this category (many being household names, such as Stephen King, Ann M Matin and Piers Anthony).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study suggests four policy implications:
• Reduce the time after transfer before termination can occur;
• ‘Streamline’ the reversion process to encourage more claimants;
• Consider an automatic reversion after a fixed term;
• Consider the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ model of reversion as implemented in the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Termination notices|
|Period of material under study:||1977 - 2020|