Copyright Question: When a Company Dissolves, is it Acceptable to Copy and Keep Articles Purchased?

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Every time you share a document, whether electronically or by photocopying it, you have created a new copy of the work and you need to consider copyright.  This is true whether you are sharing a copy internally with colleagues or externally, such as with healthcare providers or in a regulatory submission.

You need to be sure you have the rights to share the document each time you do so.  You can get these rights by requesting pay-per use permissions or obtain a reuse license from a Reproductive Rights organization like the Annual Copyright License from Copyright Clearance Center.

But when a company dissolves, many wonder: can you copy and keep articles purchased? Having worked with companies going through mergers, divestitures, acquisitions, and companies dissolving – this is a very important question for corporations of all sizes.

When we look at mergers or acquisitions, the documents are absorbed into the new company.  For divestitures, the assets may need to be split across the two companies. The existing copies can be divided between the companies too, but making additional copies to enable both companies to keep copies of all the content requires additional permissions. If a company dissolves altogether, after debts have been settled, remaining assets can be split amongst the shareholders.

The major takeaway is that the documents should be split in a similar way, and not copied. If multiple parties want copies of the purchased articles, additional rights need to be obtained.

Picture, it like furniture after a break up…you can’t both take the couch. One of you must buy a new one.

Interested in learning more about copyright? Check out:

Keri Mattaliano

Author: Keri Mattaliano

Keri Mattaliano is a Director of Corporate Solutions for the RightFind Suite in CCC’s Corporate Business Unit. Keri develops go-to-market strategies, conducts market research and competitive analysis, creates customer personas, and develops product positioning and sales training and tools to drive demand for our products. Keri started with CCC in 2011 and has had roles in customer service, account management and client engagement, including managing the client services team in Cologne, Germany in 2014 & 2015. According to the Master’s degree from Rutgers University that her dad framed, she is a librarian, however, she has never worked in a library.

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