Questions about copyright transfer

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  • Hi,

    Firstly I live in Australia. An associate of mine Jim is involved with another business owner he has known for only a short amount of time but nonetheless trusts implicitly. This guy came out of nowhere and I do know he has been to prison in the past since I did a background check on him since I never felt right about the guy. I have no more details on that though. It could be for anything. Anyway a situation has arisen where this guy wants to transfer to my associate Jim the legal copyrights for children's books he has had published and the characters in them etc..
    Jim seems happy enough to sign these forms without bothering to "waste money" on a solicitor to oversee things since he is assuming there is no risk involved since he is merely assuming copyright and no money is changing hands etc.. I however, not knowing anything about the law either am not prepared to assume anything. I want to look out for Jim and make sure he isn't being roped into something that could hurt him or his business indirectly.

    Right, so all I really want to know is what transfer of copyright entails? Is it merely a transfer of rights and therefore all money here forth produced from those copyrighted material or can other things be assumed along with those rights... ( ie- Effects from any previous lawsuits, unknown previous debts, could someone now sue the new copyright owner over something from the past.. etc.. ) Basically is there ANYTHING that could hurt Jim or his business that could result from this transfer? If there is and debt from the past or other problems could affect this transaction how does one find out if the slate is clean?

    Any help on this or a point in the right direction would be amazing. Thanks in advance,

    - Graham Mackie
  • Hi Graham~
    With US law, it's hard for me to see how what you describe would cause any problems through copyright law itself, but it seems like there could be issues with contract law or other areas of law. It seems to me that this is an issue that would be best taken to a lawyer in Australia, or wherever Jim is located.


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