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does marriage create some type of "joint" copyright?

he's divorcing me, claiming right to create derivative works

2:41 pm on Oct 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My husband is divorcing me, and is trying to get a ruling from the court allowing him to profit from my copyrighted content.

My understanding is that, since I started my writing during the marriage, the content is a "marital asset" whose value is to be split in some manner in the settlement. However, I can't find anything which awards any some sort of "joint" ownership of my copyright (which has been registered since 2003).

With the understanding that people here aren't lawyers, I am interested in hearing from anybody that has any experience or informed opinions in this area.

Thank you.


2:48 pm on Oct 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

your copyright is yours alone

he might depending on settlement ( your juristiction et al ) be able to claim a percentage of monies that you receive(d) due to your writings ..
however he cannot assign your copyright and has no say in what you do with it ..
means you could give a way some things and he'd get squat out of it ..nor could he stop you ..

or you could sell it for peanuts ..and he'd get a percentage of a peanut ..;) maybe ..if he were lucky

then you could write new stuff ( based on your old stuff ) and he'd get squat ..

8:52 pm on Oct 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Are you in the States, Eliz? If so, this article may be of interest...



4:44 am on Oct 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

As one who has been down this road, in the U.S. it probably doesn't matter what state you are in, it's going to depend entirely on the judge, period. I had a judge roll over federal bankruptcy law and toss chapter 13 debt back onto me AFTER the B.K. had closed - which was later confirmed by a bankruptcy lawyer to be blatantly and positively illegal - because he knew he was giving most of the money and assets to Satan's Sister and I didn't have a snowball's chance of fighting it.
3:33 pm on Oct 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm sorry to hear that federal statute can be disregarded so easily. But, from the horror stories we've all heard coming out of family court, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Thank you for the information, and my sympathies for your situation.


12:14 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

During a marriage X develops product in the basement and patents it, which product will likely yield decades of $$$,$$$ royalties, and then X divorces Y, planning to live happily with the $$$,$$$ and a new opposite-sex-toy, leaving Y to fend to Y's own self.

Does Y have a basis for asserting a claim to a share of the royalties?

I'm gonna suggest that in at least 1 jurisdiction chances are X AND Y share in those future royalties, based upon the equitable notion that that which is created during the tenure of the marriage - such as a business or an income stream - is subject to equitable distribution.

Equity looks at many factors but chances are pretty good that "if it has value and was acquired/produced during the marriage" it will be valued and distributed.

So, it's not quite a "joint copyright" as it is a right to share in the profits or royalties derived from copy writing that took place during the marriage. You may hold the copyright, just like "X" may "own" or be the "inventor" of the patented product, but that isn't where the equitable distribution discussion and/or equation ends.

Hopefully, unlike the unkind inventor X, some of your best - and most profitable - work lies ahead of you. ;0)


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