Rights reversion project
Contracts are at the heart of the creation and dissemination of creative works. Agreements concerning authors’ and performers’ rights are typically very broad, often covering all economic rights, worldwide, for the entire term of copyright. Reversion rights are copyright’s way to intervene in those agreements, allowing creators to reclaim copyrights they once transferred to third parties.
The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, adopted in April 2019, provides for a right of revocation. It requires EU Member States to supply authors and performers with a right to revoke an exclusive transfer in case their works are not exploited – a principle of use-it-or-lose-it. Member States are left with considerable freedom in transposing this right into their national legal orders, but no guidance to rely on.
The project is a joint initiative of CREATe and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, University of Melbourne. The goal is to stir up public discussion on reversion rights, especially by alerting creator organisations about the new provision, and providing both national policymakers and creators with information to aid their advocacy and implementation process in general.
Rebecca Giblin ARC Future Fellowship The Author’s Interest Project (FT170100011); and Horizon 2020 – Rethinking digital copyright law for a culturally diverse, accessible, creative Europe (Grant Agreement No. 870626)
Reversion Rights Resource page provides a gateway to the mapping of reversion rights provisions which are currently or were historically a part of national laws of the EU Member States.
How reversion rights can fix copyright: reclaiming lost culture and getting authors paid panel at Creative Commons Global Summit 2020 (22 October 2020) hosted by Prof. Rebecca Giblin. The panel featured presentations by prof. Caroline Ncube (University of Cape Town), Dr Ula Furgał (CREATe), Brianna Schofield (Authors Alliance) and Joshua Yuvaraj (University of Melbourne). Abstracts and bios of speakers available at The Authors Interest Project blog
Workshop on Reversion Rights in the European Union (10 November 2020) bringing together representatives of authors and performers organisations. The workshop facilitated a discussion on creators’ concerns about the revocation right and ways of bringing this provision to the attention of national lawmakers during the implementation of the Copyright Directive.
Open letter to the European Commission and the relevant authorities of Member States of the European Union: “Use-it-or-lose-it”: an historic opportunity to achieve better copyright outcomes for creators -will it go to waste? (11 December 2020). The letter was signed by a group of leading international academics and called upon governments to explicitly address the revocation right in their consultation about implementing the Copyright Directive.
CREATe Working paper 2020/11: ‘Reversion rights in the European Union Member States’ by Ula Furgał. The paper provides a full record of the mapped reversion provisions.