Re: ownership rights

Subject: Re: ownership rights
From: "Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" <jaed -at- JAEDWORKS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 13:48:11 -0700

At 11:35 AM -0700 5/11/99, David M. Brown wrote:
>Lori Wiens wrote:
>> Do you generally retain ownership/copyrights to your help systems
>> (or other documentation), or sign these over to the client?
>"Work for hire" is owned by the payer of the consulting fee or contractor

While this is true, contract work is considered work-for-hire only if this
is specified in the contract. In the absence of a contract, or if the
status of the work is not specified, the contractor owns the copyright in
the work.

(Most boilerplate agency contracts, and most contracts written by corporate
legal departments, are work-for-hire contracts. But you need to consult
your specific contract to be sure. The articles at
<> may also be helpful -
they're geared to web developers, but much of the material is relevant for
other technical workers.)

I prefer to retain copyright, while giving the client an unlimited license
to use the work; this permits them to use the files, create new versions,
etc. without any problem, while making it clear that I can re-use code,
organization, etc. in other projects of mine. However, most clients
prefer/demand a work-for-hire arrangement. In this case, I'm careful to
limit the scope of the work they own to the specific project I'm doing for
them - I've seen contracts that try to also take ownership of any similar
work I do during the contract period.

jeanne a. e. devoto ~ jaed -at- jaedworks -dot- com

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