Copyright Ownership with Independent Contractors

Copyright & contractors2

Copyright Ownership with Independent Contractors

When hiring an independent contractor to design your logos, artwork and take photographs, it is important to think about who actually owns the copyright in the resulting work.

Ownership of Copyright

Most business owners believe that they own the copyright in the works created by the independent contractor as they hired and paid the contractor for this purpose, however this isn't the case.

Generally, the first owner of copyright is the creator of the work. This holds true when you hire and pay a contractor to create the work.

In order to own the copyright in the work, you should have an agreement with the contractor prior to creating the work that you both agree that you will be the ultimate owner of the copyright in the works created.

Additionally, in order to transfer the copyright ownership from the contractor to you, a written assignment document is needed and it must be signed by the contractor.

Moral Rights

Although the initial creator of the work can assign their copyright to another entity, they cannot assign the associated Moral Rights. However, moral rights can be waived, and therefore any agreement assigning copyright from the contractor to the business owner should include a moral rights waiver. Learn more about Moral Rights.

Need a contractor agreement and/or a copyright assignment to secure the copyright in works that are created? Contact Sander Law today!

The above content is for informational purposes only and is not legal or professional advice.