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Transfer Intestate Copyright Question

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  • Noob

So I am working under a non-profit organization, starting up a record label that will release heritage music collected by various folklorists. One release is going to be recordings of a fellow and his family members. The man has died, but his daughters remain. As far as I can tell they have all spoken amongst themselves and have made one of the grand daughters a family representative, and she has signed our agreement for all materials we have collected. Now, my question is whether or not we have to get any sort of official documentation that recognizes the granddaughter as the family representative.

The Copyright Office states that (202.) "A transfer of copyright ownership, other than by operation of law, is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note of memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent."


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I should think there would have to be some sort of documentation establishing that the signer is, in fact, the authorized agent. If not, you could become embroiled in any claims by family members who were "left out" of their internal discussions. Mind you, IANAL, but at a minimum I would think the signer would have to additionally furnish an affidavit that she is the legal representative of the family. Preferably, the agreement should be signed by whatever person is dealing with other legal matters surrounding the late performer's estate.

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