Copyright Ownership

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  • Dear Sirs

    Our Assocxiation had hired a consultant to do some work for us. In the agreement, we did not specify who owns the final work. We have paid the Consultant. Since the agreement does not specify who owns the copyright, is it the Association which paid the Consultant or the Consultant who did the work who is the owner of the copyright?

    Thank you

    Amha Mersie Hazen
  • I'm not certain, and I'm too busy to check right now, but I believe that your situation is called work for hire. I believe that the Association is the copyright holder.

    The US Copyright Office has a circular about work for hire:
  • if you did not specify who would hold copyright, then the consultant holds the copyright because they are the author/creator.

    of course, the copyright holder could transfer a right or rights of copyright to you but that would be a formal agreement (license) between the two of you. You could work with the consultant and write up another contract requesting whatever it is you want to be able to do with the work. Maybe you just want the right to make 100 copies. You could license that (for an additional fee probably). Maybe you want to post the work on your web site. Then ask for distribution and display rights too.

    hope this helps.
    -carrie r

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