This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
Copyright and Work Made for Hire
May/June 1994 (vol. 11 no. 3)
pp. 93-94

Legal and policy aspects of information-technology use and development are discussed. Undoubtedly the most important and powerful legal right you can have as a program writer is to own the copyright to your software. If you have written the program without being hired to do so, you can claim the copyright, usually without complications. The courts have established that programs are no different from any other literary creation. You may claim a copyright just as an author may claim a copyright to a story. Moreover, you don't have to register the copyright; it is automatically in effect when you create the program. But what if you have been hired by someone to write a program? Do you own it, or does the party who hired you? The answer lies in an analysis of the work-made-for-hire doctrine in copyright law. The law maintains that when the program is created by a person employed by another party, the program is considered work made for hire, and the party for whom the work was prepared is the author and has the copyright. This is generally the case unless the parties involved have a written agreement to the contrary.

Index Terms:
industrial property; computer software; legislation; copyright; legal aspects; policy aspects; information-technology use; IT development; software; work-made-for-hire doctrine; law; literary creation; hired program writers; written agreement
Citation:
"Copyright and Work Made for Hire," IEEE Software, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 93-94, May-June 1994, doi:10.1109/MS.1994.10028
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.