Asked in Copyright Law
Who owns the copyright to a certain book?
November 06, 2007 5:02PM
The ownership of copyright in a literary work depends on a number of factors, the most important of which include:
* When was the original work created?
* When was it published (if ever)?
* Was the author an employee of someone else?
* Did the author have a written agreement to transfer his or her ownership to someone else (e.g., a publisher)?
* Does anyone have an "exclusive license" for any or all of the rights in the copyright (publish, distribute, translate, etc)?
* Was more than one author involved (joint ownership)?
* When did the last surviving author die?
Many publishers or authors register and deposit copies in the U.S. Copyright Office, and there is a database that can be searched.
See related questions on how long copyright lasts, and so forth.