Attorney Steve® - IP & Entertainment Law - Work Made For Hire Agreements & Copyright Assignments
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It is important to know the difference between a "work made for hire" under the United States Copyright Law vs. a Copyright "Assignment". Click on the video above to get the general legal overview.
17 U.S.C. 101 - A “work made for hire”
There are two different types of works made for hire. Under the Copyright Act:
(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment;
(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as:
- a contribution to a collective work
- as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
- as a translation
- as a supplementary work
- as a compilation
- as an instructional text
- as a test
- as answer material for a test,
- or as an atlas
If the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.
THIS MEANS, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT - WE CAN HELP!!
"According to the Copyright Act of 1976, ownership of a copyright initially vests in the “author or authors of the work.” 17 U.S.C. § 201(a). “In the case of a work made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author . . . .” Id. § 201(b). T
he Copyright Act defines a “work made for hire” as either a “work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment” or “a work specially ordered or commissioned by use as a contribution to a collective work.” Hi-Tech Video Prods., Inc. v. Cap. Cities/ABC, Inc., 58 F.3d 1093, 1095 (6th Cir. 1995) (quoting 17 U.S.C. § 101).
To determine whether a person is an “employee” for copyright purposes, courts must look to common law principles of agency. See id. at 1095–96 (listing ten nonexclusive common law factors)."
What is a “supplementary work” under the Work For Hire doctrine?
In the work for hire copyright circular this is defined as:
"A work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes, and an “instructional text” is a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities."
Contact a United States Copyright Law Firm
Established in 2004, our firm is a leader in copyright law in the United States. We can help with copyright licensing and infringement matters, dispute resolution (mediation, arbitration and litigation), fair use opinions, DMCA law, YouTube creator representation, endorsement agreements, work for hire agreement, copyright recapture and copyright assignments. We have appeared in over 175 federal copyright lawsuits and represented countless artists and companies alike.
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