Divorce of ownership and control

Randy Cale Mar 8, All Posts 0 For parents who are divorced, the challenges of parenting after divorce are immense. As a co-developer and presenter of the Kids First After Divorce Program for over ten years, I am acutely aware of the challenges that separated and divorced parents experience. I have guided mothers and fathers through this difficult process, and have helped them to develop a path for parenting that protects their children. Because it speaks to the essential truth and demands that you experience as divorced parents.

Divorce of ownership and control

This article will briefly look at copyrights and community property in California. In that case Susan and Frederick Worth agreed in a stipulated Judgment that she would be entitled to royalties from two trivia books he authored during the marriage.

When Frederick Worth later filed a copyright infringement action against the Trivial Pursuit board game, Susan claimed that she should be entitled to half the proceeds of the infringement action. Although the decision has been heavily criticized by scholars and by other courts, it remains the law in California.


This means that when a marriage ends it is important to identify any copyright that either spouse holds, to place a value on that copyright and to make adequate provision for its division.

This is especially important for copyright works such as literary and music creations which can be licensed and generate future income.

For example, consider an author who writes a series of books featuring a famous cartoon character. While the non-author spouse is entitled to fifty percent of the copyright in the books written during the marriage, what is the situation where the author continues to write new books after the marriage using the same cartoon character?

The post divorce books might then be turned into television shows and movies generating further income. In this kind of situation, in creating a settlement your attorney will need to distinguish and value the various forms of intellectual property that are created during the marriage.

These will include the copyrights in the books and the character, good will developed by the author and trademark rights created in the character and the series.

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It is likely that these values will depreciate over time due to post divorce services performed by the author. This was the situation in the divorce of Charles M. It is important to distinguish between the physical work and the underlying copyright in the work.

For example, in the case of an artist, the community will be entitled to the market value of any unsold paintings in a divorce but if the painter is famous there may be value to the other reproduction and merchandising rights in the paintings.

Even where the copyright has been sold, there may be valuable residual rights that should be considered.

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Given the complexity of characterizing and valuation issues, in many cases it is a good idea to retain an experienced entertainment lawyer and accountant.

The first step in a divorce is to identify the nature of the intellectual property rights that may exist. A search of the U. Copyright Office will determine whether the copyright has been registered in the U.

However, copyright registration is not a requirement for copyright protection and will not reveal works that have not yet been published or exploited or foreign works.

Divorce of ownership and control

For example, a half written book or a story outline is not likely to be registered but may still have value. Informal or formal discovery methods can be used to discover copyrighted works from the creator spouse or interested third parties such as book or music publishers, agents, business or personal managers and accountants.

Divorce of ownership and control

In some cases, it might be advisable to join them in the marital proceeding. In the case of a T. In California, section et seq. Failure to do so may result in sanctions against the non-disclosing spouse and in extreme situations an award of those non-disclosed assets to the innocent spouse. Once you have identified community copyright there are various methods for distribution.

Value is often speculative especially with the development of new technologies which can take many years to add value to old properties. Another solution is to equally divide both the ownership and control of the copyright assets.

By analogy, in dealing with the division of the family business where one spouse has been responsible for management, it would be rare to give the other spouse a say in management. That leaves the other solution which divides ownership —that is the legal title and right to revenues- between the spouses but leaves control of the copyright to the creator spouse.

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This can create problems since it gives the creator spouse the ability to structure deals in such a way that disadvantages the other spouse.

Consider the case of Jerry Lewis and Patti Lewis who divorced after 35 years. If you do decide to separate ownership and control of the copyright it is important to negotiate how the managing ex- spouse will administer the asset, including defending the copyright and bringing infringement claims, and what fiduciary duties will be owed to the other spouse.

Also there should be provision for a buy- out in certain circumstances e. Whatever method of division of copyright is determined it is important that all the copyright formalities for transfer are observed.

Any transfers or assignments should be in writing and it is wise to register the copyright transfer or assignment at the Copyright Office.Community property and debt is divided in a divorce. Separate property and debt is not divided.

At the end of your divorce case, a judge will divide your property and debt by signing a Final Decree of Divorce. § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § Divorce of Ownership and Control In large corporations shareholders own the firm but may not be able to exercise control.

Managers often have control because of a diffuse and divided shareholder. Before you formed your business partnership, did you vet your partners’ marriages along with their bank statements?

You may not consider it until divorce proceedings are underway, but your. Feb 14,  · This video looks at the issues that arise as a result of the divorce between ownership and control, and the role of corporate governance. Divorce Before Retirement - benefits from these plans are considered to be jointly owned by members and their spouses.