The Hidden, Contentious Issues of Copyright Co-Ownership

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One typically assumes a copyright owner to be a single person or entity – from the solitary novelist penning her latest work to the movie studio releasing a blockbuster hit. But consider the screenwriting duo who collaborate on a script, the band members who co-write a song, or the entrepreneurial programmers who jointly develop the next killer application. Should one screenwriter be able to write a sequel without the other? Can one band member license a song for use in a television commercial? What happens when one programmer wants to sell the application to a software giant? Careful consideration should be paid to the concept, and the pitfalls, of co-ownership of copyright.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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