614.2 (B) (1) Was the Work Created by an Employee Acting within the Scope of His or Her Duties?
As discussed in Chapter 500, Section 506.4, the applicant–not the U.S. Copyright Office–must determine whether a work meets the statutory definition of a work made for hire. The registration specialist generally will accept the applicant’s assertion regarding whether the work is a work made for hire, unless there is evidence to the contrary in the registration materials. As a general rule, the registration specialist will not ask the applicant to confirm that the work was created by an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment.
• An application is submitted for a photograph naming “Briana Johnson, photographer for Sonic Company” as the author of the work. The work made for hire boxes are blank and Sonic Company has been named as the claimant. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant. If Briana is an employee of Sonic Company, the company should be named as the author, the work made for hire box should be checked “yes,” and Briana’s name should be removed from the application. If Briana is not an employee, the applicant should provide a transfer statement explaining how the company obtained the copyright in this work.
• An application names Hopkins Financial Services LLP as the author and copyright claimant for a short story. The work made for hire box is checked “yes” and the application is signed “Roland Hopkins III, President & CEO, Hopkins Financial Services.” A statement on the deposit copies reads “By Roland Hopkins III.” The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant if it seems unlikely that Roland created this work as part of his regular duties and responsibilities for this company.