614.2 (B) (7) Individual and Incorporated Organization Named Together as the Authors of a Work Made for Hire
If an individual and an incorporated entity (e.g., a corporation, a professional corporation, a limited liability company, etc.) are named together as the authors of the work, the registration specialist will conclude that the organization is a separate legal entity, rather than an assumed name or trade name for the individual (regardless of how the work made for hire question is answered).
As a general rule, the specialist will communicate with the applicant when both an individual and an incorporated entity are named together in the Name of Author field/space, because the identity of the author is unclear. Likewise, the specialist generally will communicate if the application indicates that an individual is “doing business as” or “trading as” a corporation. Ordinarily, the specialist will not communicate if it is clear from the registration materials as a whole that the incorporated entity is the author and that the relationship between the individual and the entity is merely descriptive.
Example: Application acceptable
• An application names the author as “Faux-Mink, Inc., employer for hire of Abner Hess.” The work made for hire question is not answered. The registration specialist may register the claim without communicating with the applicant. The work appears to be a work made for hire, Faux-Mink, Inc. appears to be the author, and the reference to Abner Hess is merely descriptive.
Examples: Application questioned
• An application for a computer program names “Han Sung (dba GoferBroke, LLC)” as the author. The work made for hire box is not checked. The deposit copy contains redacted source code and the Note to Copyright Office states that the code contains trade secrets belonging to GoferBroke LLC. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine whether Han Sung prepared this work for GoferBroke as a work made for hire. If so, GoferBroke should be listed as the author of the work and the work made for hire box should be checked “yes.”
• Aristide Micheals submits an application for a webinar. The application names “Aristide of HTCommunication LLP” as the author and the certification indicates that Aristide is the president of this company. The videos contain a copyright notice in the name of HTCommunications LLP. The registration specialist will ask Aristide to clarify whether he prepared these works for HTCommunications as a work made for hire. If so, the company should be listed as the author of the work and the work made for hire box should be checked “yes.”
• An application names the author as “Richard Smith/Smith Publishing Company, Inc.,” and the work made for hire question has not been answered. The registration specialist will communicate with the applicant to clarify whether the work is a work made for hire and whether the author is Richard Smith or Smith Publishing Company, Inc.