Who Owns the Copyright to Your Artistic Work? You or Your Employer?Posted by William on Jul 13, 2011 in Art, Copyright, Employment, Entertainment, Film, Intellectual Property, Music, News, Television | 0 comments
It may come as a shock to some people that an individual could create fabulous artistic work and have absolutely no rights to the work. How is this possible you ask?
Well, federal copyright law states that if you have created artistic work under a “work for hire” arrangement, you are not the owner. The person who commissioned you to create that work, actually owns the work.
Unlike a person who created the artistic work on his own, the person who was hired to create the artistic work actually created the work for his employer. As such, the employer actually holds the ownership rights to it and holds the exclusive copyright to the work. In order to use the work you created, you will need to obtain a license for such use.
You may be wondering why someone would agree to such an arrangement or under what circumstances would someone happily enter into such an arrangement. Well, in the television industry, artistic work created under a “work for hire” arrangement is big business.
An individual may be approached to create a jingle for a television commercial. This music will be used in connection with a commercial, and the artist will be given a lump sum for all his work. In exchange, the artist has no copyright or ownership rights in his artistic work. The artist will not be paid when the jingle is played, and the artist will likely not be given any credit for his work.
The work for hire doctrine basically obliterates any rights, ownership or copyright rights, you may have had in that particular artistic work you created. You will not be entitled to use that work without a license from the owner.
An experienced music and entertainment lawyer can help you determine whether or not you have any ownership or copyright interest in artistic work you created. An attorney at the Bailey Law Corporation can help you secure any rights you may have in your artistic work.