[thelist] thelist] Is a copyright statement required?

James S. Huggins (Evolt) Evolt at ZName.com
Sat May 11 18:10:01 CDT 2002

BTW, I believe that if you accept money for a product that you deliver to
the payer - the copyright automatically transfers to them, unless they
specifically waive it in the original contract.

Actually, it is the other way around. It is yours, unless the contract gives
it away.

Here are the details.

Quoting the law from:

A "work made for hire" is-

(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her
employment; or

(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.

Option 1 means that if you are an employee, anything you do as an employee
does not belong to you.

Option 2 allows "work made for hire" provided (a) it is one of the specific
categories of works and (b) it is expressly agreed in a signed document that
it will be.

Note, for example, that songs can NOT be "works made for hire". The RIAA got
the law changed to permit that by sneaking in a small change. The backlash
caused it to be repealed later. Corporations would like for ALL works to be
possibly "work made for hire" for a variety of reasons. One of them is that
copyright "transfers" are not perpetual and authors can reclaim them.

Many businessmen think that when a graphics designer or web artist produces
a site and they pay for it that they are buying the copyright. In the
absence of a signed, written instrument expressly agreeing to that, they are

See also
"Who Can Claim Copyright"

And also
Circular 9: Works Made for Hire

James S. Huggins


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