Chain Of Title

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Chain Of Title



What is the dictionary definition of Chain Of Title?

Dictionary Definition


n. the succession of title ownership to real property from the present owner back to the original owner at some distant time. Chains of title include notations of deeds, judgments of distribution from estates, certificates of death of a joint tenant, foreclosures, judgments of quiet title (lawsuit to prove one’s right to property title) and other recorded transfers (conveyances) of title to real property. Usually title companies or abstractors are the professionals who search out the chain of title and provide a report so that a purchaser will be sure the title is clear of any claims.


Full Definition of Chain Of Title


A chain of title is the sequence of historical transfers of title to a property. The “chain” runs from the present owner back to the original owner of the property. In situations where documentation of ownership is important, it is often necessary to reconstruct the chain of title. To facilitate this, a record of title documents may be maintained by a registry office or civil law notary.

Chain Of Title For Real Property

Real estate is one field where the chain of title has considerable significance. Various registration systems, such as the Torrens title system, have developed to track the ownership of individual pieces of real property. In real estate transactions in the United States, insurance companies issue title insurance based upon the chain of title to the property when it is transferred. Title insurance companies sometimes maintain private title plants that track real estate titles in addition to the official records. In other cases, the chain of title is established by an abstract of title, sometimes, although not always, certified by an attorney.

Chain Of Title For Copyrights, Trademarks, And Rights Of Publicity

In the motion picture industry, the chain of title involves the series of documentation which establishes proprietary rights in a film. The chain also applies to compilations in other fields, where many people have contributed to the project, thus acquiring authorship rights, or where materials were culled from many sources. Chain of title is extremely important to film purchasers and to film distributors, as it establishes the veracity of the owner’s proprietary rights (or rights under license) in the intellectual property in a film, book or encyclopedia.

Chain of title documentation can include:

  • copyright clearances on music from the regional collecting society, and to a less common extent, footage of other films;
  • trademark clearances;
  • talent agreements, which should incorporate a legal release from the talent, be they actors (including crowds), directors, cinematographers, choreographers, or others, to use their works, images, likeness and other personality rights in the film;
  • proof of errors and omission insurance (a special form of insurance for motion picture producers which covers omissions in obtaining adequate chain of title).

Specialist organisations engage in the production of copyright property reports for motion picture studios, which cover original or unexploited works, and include the results of United States Copyright Office screening searches, author claimant searches, registration renewal searches and assignment searches. This involves reviewing US Copyright Office records from 1870 to present and numerous trade publications and databases, and Library of Congress records.


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Chain Of Title. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/chain-of-title/

Definition Sources


Definitions for Chain Of Title are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 1 Views.