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What is a work for hire under U.S. copyright law?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in Copyright

The answer to the questions “Who owns my copyright?” and “Who holds the copyright to a work I created?” are far more complex than you might think. Copyrights are created when an original work becomes fixed in a tangible form, but sometimes it can be unclear who holds a given copyright. Usually, the person who generates the work is the copyright holder, but one exception to this rule is works made for hire or under a commission. If a work is created for hire, then it is the employer, be it a corporation or an individual, who holds the copyright rather than the employed creator. Under copyright law, work for hire generally includes: Work created within the scope of employment OR Work created under order or commission, including a variety of collaborative or collective works, if there is an express, written agreement between the parties. Copyright law also includes a variety of case law beyond merely the statutory language, and Stone Law can help you determine whether your work falls under the “for hire” exception. The statutory definition is not suitable to all situations, and yours may be unique. Whether you are an employee or an employer, Stone Law can help you gain control of your work or draft...

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