Registering work with joint ownership

If you create copyright work as a collective group of individuals, a band, or otherwise as a joint venture, it may not be immediately clear how to fill in the application form.

Typical examples of this are books that are written by more than one author, or musical compositions written by a band as a group effort.

Note: This would not apply to incorporated companies as they are legal entities and can hold copyright (and other assets) in their own right.

Registering as a collective

It is perfectly normal to register as a collective.

When completing the 'owner name(s)' part of the application, we will accept either:

  1. The name of collective (i.e. for musical work, a band name), or
  2. A list of the individuals, or
  3. A list of individuals and organisations.

Either is perfectly valid.

If there is not enough space on the form, simply enclose a list of names on a separate sheet.

Exactly how you register really depends on who you regard as the copyright owner(s), this should be something you all agree on, and you should consider the following:

  • If member of your group leaves, do they forfeit all rights to the work they helped create? Does the work remain the sole property of those within the group?

    If yes, then entering the collective name only would be appropriate.

  • If the work is principally written by one person, or a few principal writers, who wish to retain all rights, then the names of the principal writer(s) should be entered.
  • If a member leaves would both he/she and the group retain a claim to the work?

    For musical groups, this is probably the most likely option. A real example of this would be an artist such as Ozzy Osbourne, who will still perform tracks he helped write while he was with the band Black Sabbath, while Black Sabbath can also still perform the songs.

    In this instance, the logical choice would be to enter both the group and the individual writers names.