The term « work-for-hire » is found in many software development contracts, but it is one of the most commonly used phrases. In general, companies that have developed certain software enter into a written contract with an independent contractor and insert the magic phrase « work-for-hire » because they believe that they automatically confer intellectual property on the company. However, work carried out by independent contractors can only constitute « rent work » in very limited cases. As many lawyers and non-lawyers know, « work for hire » is a copyright doctrine that gives an employer ownership of the copyright of works of authorship created by an employee or, in very limited cases, by an independent contractor. The doctrine works differently depending on whether an employee or an independent contractor is involved. Some creative arguments have been made by some (probably very expensive) lawyers in some lower federal courts. At least at the lower court level, there is case law that suggests that software could be considered either as a « contribution to collective works » or as a « compilation » under 17.C 101 or both. In recent developments, the courts have extended the scope of the « work for hire » doctrine to independent technology contractors, software developers. This trend towards judicial acceptance of the « work for hire » doctrine for independent contractors shows that judges have begun to understand the process of creating and the function of source code within the software.
In the case of an independent contractor, the loan company owns the copyright of a work if it demonstrates three elements: (1) the copyrighted work was specially commissioned or commissioned by the loan company, (2) the copyrighted work falls within one of the nine « Work for hire » categories: (a) a contribution to a collective work; b) part of a film image or other audiovisual work c) a translation, d) a complementary work, (e) a compilation, (f) a teaching text, (g) a test, (h) the response material to a test or (i) an atlas. The challenge of this analysis lies in the application to software developed by an independent contractor. A word (or warning) about « Working for Hire » in California Innovative custom software has become a tool for success in today`s economy. The software developers and software they have created are available in all shapes and sizes. The developer could be a friend or relative of the family. The developer could be requested by Craigslist. Companies might simply be attracted to the developer`s website, which offers a number of software development services. Once the developer is configured, the software type can be configured in different ways.
The software can be alone. Or it could be an add-on or an adaptation of existing platforms like Salesforce.com or Magenta. BHANDLAW, PLLC represents companies in the verification, negotiation or preparation of agreements with independent contractors and suppliers in the field of software and application development, as well as in the event of invention assignment agreements with contractors and employees of the company. For more information or to discuss your « rental work » of language and intellectual property needs, please contact us at the phone number or email address below or use the contact form on the right.