Works "Made for Hire"

Works "made for hire" are created by an employee within the scope of his or her employment. Administrative reports, committee minutes, the college catalog and magazine, this copyright guide, and software programs written for college activities are all examples of works "made for hire." The college is deemed to hold the copyright to such works.

As an important exception to this doctrine, many educational institutions consider that the copyright to scholarly works created by faculty (such as books, articles, musical compositions, and art, as well as course notes, lectures, and exams) generally belongs to the faculty member. The college and the faculty member may enter into an agreement at any time to reassign the copyright.

College administrators are advised to consider the question of copyright when using the services of independent contractors. Independent contractors are generally not considered employees for copyright purposes, and thus their work is not "made for hire." For example, a film production company that is hired to make a promotional film about the college will retain copyright of that film unless it assigns the copyright to the college. Make sure the rights that will be assigned to the college are clearly stated, in writing, before such projects begin.


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