Your website guru has worked hard to create a beautiful landing page with language that will help you attract customers. Now you want the content to be protected by copyright. How do you make sure your company owns these copyrights? If you hire a creative employee (employee or independent contractor) to create something for your business, you should have a work lease before you start working so you don`t have to challenge this issue in court. In my startup and technology law practice in Phoenix, I often get this question because it`s about software and application development. Unfortunately, the term “work done to hire” (or, more colloquially, “work for hire”) is a term that is misunderstood by companies because it is abused. Build your network. Build your brand. Advance your career. As a result, your business might be required to pay for things like California payroll taxes and workers` compensation insurance for newly characterized independent contractors. And that doesn`t even include possible (and costly) penalties for misr characterosing the contractor that might have occurred in the past.
Some creative arguments have been made by some (arguably very expensive) lawyers in some lower-level federal courts. At least at the lower court level, there is case law suggesting that software could be considered either a “contribution to collective works” or a “compilation” under 17 U.S.C§ 101, or both. Companies that hire programmers or software developers for large-scale or even short-term projects should be aware that the mere use of the words “work for rent” in their independent contractor or similar agreements does not automatically apply the doctrine to software work that could be developed accordingly. The “work for a fee” doctrine, as it applies to software, is still a very unexplained law, and works created by independent contractors are likely to become “works made for rental” only in very specific and defined circumstances (and with much help from your agreements with your independent contractors). You can check here directly via Wikipedia, but it is intended to promote the creation of art and culture by rewarding authors and artists with a number of exclusive rights. Copyright grants authors and artists the exclusive right to make and sell copies of their works, the right to create derivative works, and the right to perform or publicly exhibit their works. These exclusive rights are limited in time and generally expire 70 years after the death of the author. In the United States, any music composed before January 1, 1924 is generally considered to be in the public domain.
The Copyright Act of 1976 was the last notable amendment to general copyright laws in the United States. In general, a copyrighted work is the exclusive property of the person who created it (and provided that the author has not transferred all or part of the copyright to someone else). This is the default rule. For these reasons, the question of whether your independent contractor agreement would actually be enforceable with this extremely broad “work for rent” clause is a question that is still very much present. Add a language that specifically specifies the property. That is the important part. Add language that shows that both parties understand that this is temporary work and that ownership of the work belongs to your company and not to the employee. Your company has just hired someone to help you develop your new mobile app. Her agreement with that programmer or engineer explicitly states that everything she creates for your business is “rent work.” Your business is good, isn`t it? Under no circumstances can the new employee ever claim benefits, can they? Identify both parties.
Your company and the worker. Specify the status of the employee (employee or contract worker). . . .