Sublicenses By Exclusive Licensees Of Copyrights - Copyright "Clarification" May Change The Law

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A change in the rules on copyright licensing may be coming in the near future and from an unexpected and unanticipated source. The rules deal with whether the owner of an exclusive copyright license may sublicense such right without the approval of the licensor. The clear and unequivocal answer in the Ninth Circuit has long been, "No." See, Gardner v. Nike, Inc., 279 F.3d 774 (9th Cir. 2002). The answer in other circuits is somewhat less clear. Most licensors, however, have long sought contractual clarity by providing for "assignment" or "license" provisions in any contract for copyrights, trademarks or patents. Congress, however, may soon be changing the Ninth Circuit's answer at a time when few may even be aware of the pending change.

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Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP on:

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