Letter Agreement - Art Work Made for Hire - Self-Employed
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A work for hire is an exception to the general rule that the person who creates a work is the author of that work and holds all rights to the work product. This is a concept of intellectual property protection outlined in Section 101 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In most cases, the person who creates a copyrightable worksuch as a story, poem, song, essay, sculpture, graphic design, or computer programholds the copyright for that work. A copyright is a form of legal protection which gives the holder sole rights to exploit the work for financial gain for a certain period of time, usually 35 years. In contrast, the copyright for a work for hire is owned by the company that hires the person to create the work or pays for the development of the work. The creator holds no rights to a work for hire under the law. Instead, the employer is solely entitled to exploit the work and profit from it. The concept of work for hire is different from the creator transferring ownership of a copyrightable work, because the latter arrangement allows the creator to reacquire rights to the work after the copyright period expires.
There are two main categories of copyrightable materials that can be considered works for hire. One category encompasses works that are prepared by employees within the scope of their employment. For example, if a software engineer employed by Microsoft writes a computer program, it is considered a work for hire and the company owns the program. The second category includes works created by independent contractors that are specially commissioned by a company. In order to be considered works for hire, such works must fall into a category specifically covered by the law, and the two parties must expressly agree in a contract that it is a work made for hire.
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