Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What's a 'Work for Hire' and Why Should You Care?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 3rd, 2014

A provost learns to his dismay that the university shares copyright ownership of a popular MOOC with the professor who created it. A professor finds to her surprise that students who helped produce an animation to illustrate a lecture are co-owners of the copyright. Yet another professor, who wrote and put together a video for his course, is shocked to learn that the university that employs him and the company that produced the video share copyright ownership of it—without him.
Those scenarios answer the second part of the question posed in this essay’s title: Why should you care? Now to explain the first half: What’s a "work for hire"?
The rule of copyright says that you own what you create. Work for hire is a lonely exception to that rule. If you create a work for hire, your employer owns the copyright for that work from the moment it comes into being.

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