Are O&G lease forms copyrighted?

There are various sample lease forms floating around which don’t say they’re copyrighted. Does this mean you can use clauses or sentences from them ... or even use the entire lease form ... without worrying about copyright infringement?

I’ve heard of a law firm using one of these samples found freely on the Internet -- i.e., the
Earthworks “Texas Sample Oil & Gas Lease” -- with the notation that it is copyrighted by their law firm, with all rights reserved. How can they do this if they didn’t write it?

And if you pay an attorney to do a lease for you, do you then own it ... in other words, can you use it, or parts of it, again for another lease ... or give it to others to use freely?

All my forms are copyrighted. It costs $2.00 per form for copyright protection.

Most commercial printing houses have their forms copyrighted as well.

As to publishing forms, you do not necessarily have to write the form. You have to copyright it to have copyright protection.

That does not mean that Pound Printing and Publishing Company is not at wits end. They produce the most commonly used form in the state of Texas. AND companies will make a few insignificant changes and send it to their brokers to use.

The real advantage to a copyrighted form is that people know what it says, Otherwise, you have to read every lease from beginning to end, to make sure not one or two words were changed that completely changed the economics of the proposition.

If it's copyrighted, it will say so.

I find that most decent people want to respect the intellectual work of others. Then there are the other people.

Buddy Cotten is right on point here. I have copyrighted forms as well. The purpose of this is two-fold. First, a lot of work goes into drafting an oil and gas lease. Contrary to what most mineral owners feel. The leasing of minerals is not 'found money' that requires no more attention than cashing a lottery ticket. The minerals owned are a valuable portion of a mineral owners property and should be treated as such. They are a depleting resource, meaning that if not properly managed the benefit to the owner is greatly reduced in the present and for the future. Further, mineral properties are not all the same. The idea that 'one form is as good as the next' is an absolute fallacy. There is no standard form of lease for oil, gas and other minerals in Texas. Period. The so called 'standard forms' or 'Producers 88' are merely fictions that if signed by a mineral owner leave out much to be desired on the part of mineral owners. Finally, the cost to have competent help in connection with mineral transactions is but a pittance when considering the long term value to the mineral owner.

Hope this helps.

Ernie Bruchez

Thank you Mr. Bruchez for saying that oil and gas are property that if leased and drilled are being removed to never return. People lose sight of that. I've seen the "It's free money, what do I care" stated too many times. People don't realize that it could sometimes mean a house paid off or the kids going to college or a better college and not just a nice vacation or a new car that will depreciate to nothing in a decade. I agree with Mr. Cotten about the theft of intellectual property. Many times somone offers their intellectual property free, with the provision that it is for personal use and may not be reproduced and sold. People and companies reproduce and sell it anyway. I hate to see anyones hard work stolen.