Omaha, NE asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Nebraska

Q: I wrote a story and a radio station wants to play it on the radio. Should I sign the release form giving them copyright?

My children's story was performed for the public by a director friend and a radio station recorded it for us. They now want to play it on the radio and need me to sign a release form giving them copyright over the broadcast recording. I am still trying to get my story published in book form and I worry that this release form could cause problems especially since I don't already have a copyright on my story.

2 Lawyer Answers

Andrew Zulieve Esq

  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Waldoboro, ME

A: I would have the release carefully reviewed by a copyright attorney. Depending on the language in the release, it is possible that you are assigning (giving up for all time) at least one and maybe all of your bundle of exclusive copyright interests. Since it appears that you do not want to do that, you might consider giving your director friend a non-exclusive license which, when terminated, would automatically terminate any copyright licensed by that agreement. Good luck with your efforts to have the work published.

Jason Brooks

  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • los angeles, CA

A: I agree with what Andrew said, and will add that beyond a mere review by an attorney, you should have an attorney revise the agreement and negotiate a specific carve-out so that any rights you are giving up in the broadcast does not apply to literary publication. the best scenario for you is to not transfer any ownership of rights but rather, simply grant them a limited license to exhibit the broadcast on their station. If you'd like further assistance in this matter, feel free to email me at:

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