Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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1106.5 (F) Works Made for Hire


1106.5 (F) Works Made for Hire


An unpublished work may be registered as a “work made for hire” if it satisfies the statutory definition for such works, and if it is identified as such in the application. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (C) (6). Specifically, this option may be used to register (I) a group of works created by an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment, or (ii) a group of works specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work or one of the other types of works listed in the statutory definition, provided that the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that each work shall be considered a “work made for hire.”


If the works satisfy these requirements, the employer or the party that ordered or commissioned the works should be named as the author of each work in the group, and that person or organization should be named as the claimant for those works. 37 C.F.R. § 202.4 (C) (6).


NOTE: An applicant may register an unpublished work that was jointly created by an individual and an organization. But because the works must be created by the same author or joint authors, and because the author(s) must be named as the copyright claimant, a work created for an organization pursuant to a work made for hire agreement cannot be registered together with a work created by an individual who assigned his or her rights to the organization through a transfer of ownership.


For additional information concerning works made for hire, see Chapter 500, Section 506.


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