A transfer of rights contract allows you to transfer your contractual rights and responsibilities to another party. Transferring contract rights can happen either through assignment or delegation.

Assigning Contractual Rights

If you want to transfer your contractual rights to another person, you will need to make an assignment. On the other hand, if you're only interested in transferring your contractual duties but not your rights, you would use a delegation. After an assignment takes place, full contractual rights will be transferred to the assignee. These will be the exact same rights as enjoyed by the original contracted party.

If the contractual rights being transferred aren't personal, then the party assigning their rights does not need to obtain permission from the other contracted party. Permission is a requirement if the assignment involves personal services.

There are certain circumstances when assignment is not possible:

  1. The contract prohibits assignment.
  2. Assignment is illegal or violates public policy.
  3. The assignment get rejected by a court.

Delegating Contractual Obligations

Delegation is much different than assignment. With a delegation, you are transferring the obligation of performance to another party. Basically, this means that another person is performing your contractual duties but you are still legally responsible for the contract. For instance, if you delegated a contractual payment, and that payment is not made, the other party in the contract can hold you liable for the missed payment.

Certain contractual obligations are not eligible for delegation. If completion of the contract requires special knowledge, skills, or talents, delegation is not allowed.

Making an Assignment

If you want to assign your contractual rights to another party, you can do so in writing or verbally depending on the laws in your state. Either way, you should give the other party in the contract notice that you are making an assignment. Once notice is sent, the other party can perform their contractual duties on your behalf.

After receipt of the notice, the other party should fulfill their responsibilities to the assignee instead.

Transferring Copyrights

A tricky situation when it comes to transferring contract rights is who has the ability to transfer a copyright. The basic rule is that the person that holds the copyright owns exclusive rights to the work covered by the copyright. This means that only the copyright holder may license the creative work. The only exception to this rule is when the person that created the copyrighted work did so in a work-for-hire situation. In this case, the organization that hired the creator would own the copyrights.

Copyrights are like other types of property in that the owner of the copyright can transfer these rights to owner person. Copyrights are transferrable in whole or in part. For example, if you are a photographer, copyright law would apply whether or not you were paid for your services.

If someone else copies, sells, or uses your copyrighted photograph without your permission, they have violated your copyright, which is illegal and may result in both criminal and civil penalties. Even if someone buys a copy of your photograph, this doesn't mean that you have transferred ownership of your copyright. The buyer would not have the right to reproduce your photograph or publish the image.

As a copyright holder, you have the ability to license your copyright or to transfer it to another person. You could grant a company a license to reproduce your photo, for example. Copyright owners can transfer exclusive rights to their property to another person. If you want to transfer exclusive rights to a copyright, you must do so in writing. Otherwise, the transfer would not be valid. This written transfer should include the copyright owner's signature.

You do not need a written agreement when transferring non-exclusive rights to your copyright. If a copyright holder dies, ownership of the copyright can be transferred through a will or by the laws of succession.

Because a copyright is a type of personal property, state regulations and laws apply to copyright ownership. These laws also apply to transferring copyrights and inheritance of these property rights. If you have questions about which laws apply to transferring copyrights in your state, you should consult an attorney.

If you need help with a transfer of rights contract, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.