PUSHMAN DOCTRINEPushman doctrine. Archaic. The rule that transfer of an unpublished work transfers the common-law copyright to the work along with the work itself. ? The name derives from Pushman v. New York Graphic Soc’y, Inc., 39 N.E.2d 249 (N.Y. 1942). The doctrine was rejected by ¡ì 202 of the Copyright Act of 1976, but it remains in effect for transfers completed before the provision’s effective date of January 1, 1978.
¡°[A]n outright sale of a material object, such as a book, canvas, or master tape of a musical work, does not transfer copyright. One possible exception to this rule is the Pushman doctrine under which an author or artist who has sold an unpublished work of art or a manuscript is presumed to have transferred his common law copyright, unless the copyright has been specifically reserved.¡± Marshall A. Leaffer, Understanding Copyright Law 211 (3d ed. 1999).