Seeing as how one of my clients has filed for bankruptcy, I plan to be researching the issue of bankruptcy more and more.
It is a dense issue. Here is something I have found
Although the bankrupt company’s assets can be re-distributed, intellectual property is different in that the IP rights cannot be assigned to another party unless the IP owner has consented, according to In The Red business bankruptcy blog, (to make the information in this link more understandable, replace the word licensor with photographer and licensee with client/newspaper/magazine):
Also, this discussion on Patry Copyright blog about bankruptcy and patent. (be sure to read the follow-up comments)
Definitely this is complicated. My guess is that this will develop more over the next few years.
As an aside, I think this means we need to watch out for terms in our contracts that would allow IP rights to be assigned to a third party in bankruptcy.