License Rights & Work for Hire Answers

August 23, 2006 12:00 am

Todays discussion is focused on Licensing Rights & Work for Hire. Licensing Rights Licenses can be used to sell limited rights to people for work that have a copyright, for Trademarks and for Patents. You should require a written, signed contract for any license you grant to someone to use your work. This agreement is your protection. It should clearly state you are the sole owner of the rights, how they can use it, how many times (if you want), for how long (if you want the license to expire), whether their license can be transferred (in the case of merger or company gets bought), the amount you are paid, any additional limits you feel are necessary, breach statements, and state the contract is to enforced. Many licenses allow for commercial use. Commercial use is *NOT* the same as a license or permission to distribute. For example, I sell an image to you and give you a license to use it commercially. You can put that image on t-shirts, mugs, use in ads, and use as a part of a newly created item for sale. However, you can not directly sell just the image or sell the rights to use the image to another person. When I purchase a music CD, what I am really buying is the license to listen to the music. I do not have the right to make commercial copies. Commercial in this case, is any use other than my personal use. I violation the copyrights, if I burn a copy of it and give to a friend or if I share the music file on peer-to-peer networks. If I buy a piece of software, I own one copy of it and it can be installed on one of my computers. Some licenses will allow me to install on my other computers, but that is not very common. Usually, you are required to buy a copy of the software for each individual computer. If I decide I no longer want the software, I can remove it from my computer and sell the one original copy with its license (key or purchase code) to someone else. In this case, you would want to give the purchase receipt to the new license owner. However, I can not copy the software on another CD and give it away or sell it. I can not give or sell my key or purchase code to someone else. Sharing software that I purchased on a peer-to-peer network or selling the software to other people is illegal. Its often called warez and legitimate companies will not allow that type of sharing on their network or servers. I could go on about Licensing Rights foreverso Ill stop here since I think I covered the basics. Work for Hire In a Work for Hire the creator does not own the copyrights to anything they create during the time that the contract is valid. Usually, in a work for hire agreement, you are considered a contract employee and the company owns all rights to anything you create while employed. A contract employee under a work for hire is paid an agreed amount over the course of employmenteither a wage based on hours or a flat fee thats paid on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly installment. Sometimes, the regular payments towards the amount is considered a draw until the project is complete. That means if you do not complete the job, you may have to return any payments that were made to you. Some work for hire arrangements will state that the creator gets a percentage of the sales (instead of a flat fee paid) and specify an exact item that is to be made for the company. Therefore, any other items you make for yourself during that contract are completely your works. There are some work for hire arrangements that are not beneficial for the creators (often seen in musical works). However, some creators may enjoy a steady income over risk of trying to make it on their own. In any work for hire agreement you may be considering, you have to think about your situation and whether it benefits you, too (not just the company getting to own the copyright of your work). Read contracts completely, and ask for a day or two if needed to get back with the potential employer. Do *not* be afraid to ask questions, take notes or ask for unclear areas to be reworded to make the agreement clear. Make sure the payment arrangements are fair and what financial obligation you have if the contract is breached or if the work is not completed. Its also a good idea to have an attorney review agreement on your behalf and explain to you any parts that you are unsure about. 1. In Work for Hire the creator does not own the copyrights? 63.5% Answered True 36.5% Answered False ANSWER: True The person or company that employees the work for hire person owns the copyright. 2. A work for hire is the same thing as transferring ownership in a copyrightable work. 44.2% Answered True 55.8% Answered False ANSWER: False A work for hire is not the same as a copyright transfer. It is more beneficial for a copyright holder to transfer rights, since there is a possibility of getting the work back after 35 years. 3. I bought an item and theres a license that allows commercial use, so I can use it however I want. 17.3% Answered True 82.7% Answered False ANSWER: False Commercial use does not give complete rights, only rights to use the item in other completed works. The original item can not be used in a way the original work can be extracted or re-distributed. 4. I got it free off the Internet, so I can give it away. 5.8% Answered True 94.2% Answered False ANSWER: False Yeah!! Im so glad to see so many of you got this right. Just because you got something on the Internet for free does not mean you have any rights to it. You may use it for personal use, but not commercial use (selling or giving it away to others) without verification. Many sites give things away freely (or worse sell things) that are *not* even theirs to be distributing. Be extremely suspicious of any site that has statements that you can use items commercially with statements of these items were found on the net, *some* of these items are mine, copyrights unknown or not liable for items with copyrights, etc. 5. Items over 100 years old are public domain, and free to use. 42.3% Answered True 57.7% Answered False ANSWER: False Although many copyrights do expire in 100 years or less, you can assume they are expired. The copyright holder, their estate, children, or companies can (and often do) renew the copyrights. 6. How long is a copyright effective? It does vary based on date of registration and type of work. Most everyone got this answer right in one area. The info below is from the US Copyright law. Title 17, Chapter 3, section 302. Duration of copyright: Works created on or after January 1, 19784 (a) In General. Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978, subsists from its creation and, except as provided by the following subsections, endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the author's death. (b) Joint Works. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire, the copyright endures for a term consisting of the life of the last surviving author and 70 years after such last surviving author's death. (c) Anonymous Works, Pseudonymous Works, and Works Made for Hire. In the case of an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. Title 17, Chapter 3, section 303. Duration of copyright: Works created but not published or copyrighted before January 1, 19785 (a) Copyright in a work created before January 1, 1978, but not theretofore in the public domain or copyrighted, subsists from January 1, 1978, and endures for the term provided by section 302. In no case, however, shall the term of copyright in such a work expire before December 31, 2002; and, if the work is published on or before December 31, 2002, the term of copyright shall not expire before December 31, 2047. 7. Selling a license to use my work allows me to limit its usage. 92.3% Answered True 7.7% Answered False ANSWER: True An exclusive right of a copyright holder is to permit or sell Licenses for its use that state how the item can be used. 8. A License is used only for works with a copyright. 32.7% Answered True 67.3% Answered False ANSWER: False Licenses can also be purchased for Trademark use or patents. 9. Pricing on license sales can be hard, but is critical for profit. 69.2% Answered True 30.8% Answered False ANSWER: True Intellectual property is much more difficult to determine fair, competitive pricing since costs are more variable and perceived market value can fluctuate. 10. Enforcing Licensing limits is impossible. 21.2% Answered True 78.8% Answered False ANSWER: This ones a tricky question; but mostly False It is not impossible for soft goods, when the time and expense to incorporate keys or purchase codes that are unique to each buyer so the soft goods can only be installed one time. However, with peer to peer networks and technology it is more difficult to try to protect images, software files and music than ever before. Film and Music are very difficult due to them being tangible goods (CDs & DVDs).