Reclaiming Your Copyright

This is my Public Service Announcement for musicians who signed a record deal or publishing deal twenty-five years ago:  YOU CAN START THE PROCESS OF GETTING YOUR MUSIC BACK.

That's right, under mos circumstances, when you signed over your music twenty-five years ago or longer, you can serve what is called a "Notice of Termination" to the current rights holder (record label or publisher), telling them you're taking ownership of your music back after 35-years from the date of the "grant."


  • You signed a two-year publishing deal on January 1, 1993. 

  • During the deal, you wrote "Song A" on January 1, 1994, to which the publishing company takes ownership.  The date of "grant" is January 1, 1994. 

  • If you follow the proper notice provisions, you can take ownership of the copyright back 35 years later, on January 1, 2029. 

  • You can serve the Notice of Termination as much as ten years prior to the effective date of termination (and you MUST provide at least two year's notice).  Therefore, you can retain my services to properly serve the notice on January 1, 2019.

The law is extremely technical.  For example, the window to serve the notice and take back ownership doesn't last forever.  You have five years for the termination to take effect.  But there's more.  Keep in mind, you need to serve the notice at least two years in advance.  If you transferred ownership close to 38 years ago time is running out to get your music back!   Confused yet?  Exactly.  There are also technical requirements as to the content of the Notice of Termination. 


So please contact me and we can figure out together when the right time to serve the notice is.  Many times, the record label or publisher wants to hold on to the music, and is willing to negotiate a new deal with you that has more favorable terms than the existing one (e.g. the publisher may enter into an admin deal and administer the publishing for a much smaller percentage).  I can assist in those negotiations as well.

Have more questions? Contact Colin now.