Monthly Archives: May 2010

Announcing copyright termination calculator and website

Filed under Meta, Termination

Dear Readers,

I recently launched a sister website that centers on copyright grant terminations, as the title suggests. The gem of the site is a copyright termination calculator, the design of which took more than a little time and a large amount of programming help. (Thanks!) The calculator will run a user through the questions and permutations necessary to evaluate when and under what conditions and statutory provisions a copyright grant may be terminated.

The program does not cover all the steps necessary to evaluate a potential termination. I haven’t tried to address the technical issues involved with accessing whether a majority of the author or authors is present to serve a valid termination notice.

The calculator does what it does well, though, and should be substantially more useful than some of the other similar programs on the internet. It cross references statutes and covers remote permutations such as the Copyright Office’s recent comment request on how to handle grants that were made before January 1, 1978 on works that were completed after January 1, 1978.

If any of you have any requests, suggestions or corrections, please feel free to email me or leave them in the comments.

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SDNY finds sending copyright termination notices subjects individuals to personal jurisdiction

Filed under Personal Jurisdiction, Termination

Marvel Worldwide, Inc. v. Kirby (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Two children of a comic book illustrator sent a series of copyright grant termination notices to Marvel Comics. Marvel contended that the illustrator’s drawings were works made for hire, and as such, the children were not able to terminate the grants. After unsuccessful negotiations, Marvel brought suit seeking a declaratory judgment finding that the works were made for hire. The two children moved to dismiss the New York action arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction, and filed a second suit in the Central District of California.

New York’s long arm statute provides that a party is subject to personal jurisdiction if it “transacts any business in the state or contracts anywhere to provide goods or services in the state” if the cause of action arises from the transactions or business. CPLR 302(1). The S.D.N.Y.  (McMahon, J.) found that the two children had transacted business in the state by virtue of sending the termination notices. According to the Court:

Defendants dispatched a multitude of self-executing Termination Notices to Marvel entities and licensees in New York in September 2009. This constitutes “transacting business” under section 302(a)(1). By virtue of having mailed the transaction notices to Marvel [the two Kirbys who live in California] “project[ed] themselves into New York and the local stream of commerce.” John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009 WL 1766003  at *5.

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