As part of the Suffolk Law School Podcast Series, Samuel Miller, of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz,
PC, recently discussed his article, Are You Sure You Own the Copyrights in Your Code?
Works for Hire: Employees vs. Contractors
In discussing code ownership and works made for hire, Mr.
Baker initially distinguishes between employees (whose works automatically
transfer to employers) and independent contractors. Regarding the latter, the Copyright
Act must be considered in determining whether a contractor's work constitutes a
commissioned work that automatically vests ownership in the commissioning
entity. Under the Act, computer code/programs are not enumerated as works that vest
Consequently, Mr. Baker makes the point that software
companies (especially small developers) need to craft employment agreements on
the front end, paying close attention to the scope of employment and requiring a
written assignment of ownership.
Listeners can access Mr. Miller's complete podcast, Are You Sure You Own the Copyrights in Your
Code?, at Suffolk University's
Intellectual Property Law Podcast Series - IP Law Podcast Series.
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