Copyright Compendium

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506.4 (B) Work Made for Hire Questionnaire

 

506.4 (B) Work Made for Hire Questionnaire

 

Upon request, the U.S. Copyright Office will provide the applicant with general information about the provisions of the Copyright Act, including the statutory definition of a work made for hire, and will explain the relevant practices and procedures for registering the work.

 

The Office cannot provide specific legal advice on the rights of persons, issues involving a particular use of a copyrighted work, cases of alleged foreign or domestic copyright infringement, contracts between authors and publishers, or other matters of a similar nature. 37 C.F.R. § 201.2 (A) (3). However, the Office has developed a questionnaire that may be useful to applicants in determining whether a particular work fits within the statutory definition of a work made for hire.

 

NOTE: This questionnaire is only intended for use in connection with works created on or after January 1, 1978.

 

Question 1: Was the work created by an employee?

 

NOTE: The fact that someone was hired or paid to create a work does not necessarily mean that that person is an employee. For guidance on whether a person may be considered an employee, see Section 506.2.

 

If the answer to Question 1 is “yes,” proceed to Question 2. If the answer is “no,” proceed to Question 3.

 

Question 2: Did the employee create the work while acting within the scope of his or her employment?

 

If the answer to Question 2 is “yes,” the work is a work made for hire. For guidance in completing an application to register a work made for hire, see Chapter 600, Section 614.1.

 

If the answer is “no,” proceed to Question 3.

 

Question 3: Is there a written agreement between the party that ordered or commissioned the work and the party who created the work?

 

If the answer is “no,” the work is not a work made for hire.

 

If the answer is “yes,” proceed to Question 4.

 

Question 4: Was the written agreement signed by the party that ordered or commissioned the work and the party who created the work?

 

If the answer is “no,” the work is not a work made for hire.

 

If the answer is “yes,” proceed to Question 5.

 

Question 5: Did the parties expressly agree in the written agreement that the work shall be considered a work made for hire?

 

If the answer is “no,” the work is not a work made for hire.

 

If the answer is “yes,” proceed to Question 6.

 

Question 6: Was the work specially ordered or commissioned for use in one or more of the following types of works?

 

• An atlas.

 

• A test.

 

• Answer material for a test.

 

• A translation.

 

• As part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.

 

• A compilation.

 

• A contribution to a collective work.

 

• A supplementary work.

 

• An instructional text.

 

If the answer is “no,” the work is not a work made for hire.

 

If the answer is “yes,” the work is a work made for hire. For guidance in completing an application to register a work made for hire, see Chapter 600, Section 614.1.