Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 100
Chapter 200
Chapter 300
Chapter 400
Chapter 500
Chapter 600
Chapter 700
Chapter 800
Chapter 900
Chapter 1000
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Chapter 1200
Chapter 1300
Chapter 1400
Chapter 1500
Chapter 1600
Chapter 1700
Chapter 1800
Chapter 1900
Chapter 2000
Chapter 2100
Chapter 2200
Chapter 2300
Chapter 2400

1003.1 Distinguishing Between Individual Authors, Joint Authors, and Works Made for Hire

1003.1 Distinguishing Between Individual Authors, Joint Authors, and Works Made for Hire


Websites often contain multiple types of copyrightable content, including literary works, visual art works, and performing arts works. The authors of the content may include visual artists, web designers, bloggers, coders, musicians, singer songwriters, among others. These authors may be individual contributors to the website, multiple authors who contributed to a group project, or employees of a company.


When an individual creates a work of authorship, generally he or she is considered the author of that work. If two or more individuals create a work, they are considered joint authors and the work is considered a joint work. See 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “joint work”). When an individual creates a work during the course of his or her employment, that individual is not considered the author; the employer is considered the author and the work is considered a work made for hire. See id. (definition of “work made for hire”).


For a definition and detailed discussion of joint works and works made for hire, see Chapter 500, Sections 505 and 506.

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