In this article, we’ll discuss 10 of the most common questions about the "work made for hire" doctrine under copyright laws. In short, under copyright law the person who creates a work is the author and owner of that work. However, there is an exception to this rule called a "work made for hire."
In a "work made for hire" situation, the employer and not the creator of the work becomes the owner. There are generally 2 ways in which a "work made for hire" occurs. First, an employee creates a work for the employer within the scope of his or her employment. Second, an independent contractor creates a work for an employer where there is a written agreement for a particular task to be completed.
Questions often arise as to when someone is considered an employee or independent contractor, how to legally allow the employer to own the employee’s or independent contractor’s work, etc. We’ll explore these questions and others in this article.
Next, we’ll go over work made for hire questions 1 through 3.