Giving away the bundle of rights that constitute copyright is often called a grant. If the transfer is exclusive it has to be in writing. For example, if Alice composes music, she can give Bob an exclusive right to cover her composition for distribution in the United States and Carol the exclusive right to cover her composition for distribution in Europe. These are exclusive grants and have to be in writing.
Works Can Be Made Available Under Terms More Favorable Than Copyright Allows
The Creative Commons, an organization founded by a number of legal scholars, has developed a series of licenses that allows copyright holders to retain control over their works, but still make them available under terms more favorable than copyright allows. The copyright holder can choose to make the work available under a single license or a combination of licenses. For example, a copyright holder can permit use of the work only if it is used for noncommercial purposes and if the work is attributed to him, while retaining the right to make derivative works. Or he could make it available for derivative works, but require that the derivative works be made available under the same terms as the original.
Creative commons has recently introduced a new sampling license under which artists are allowed to use portions of other artists’ works in sampling. Various artists are expected to offer their work to be used for sampling through the creative commons website. More information about the creative commons license is available on their website at www.creativecommons.org.