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Contracts, Copyrights, Trademarks or Intellectual Property

Does my company own any copyrights?

In the United States, the general rule is that the person or persons who author an original work own the copyright in that work.  There are exceptions to this rule, and it can be altered by written agreement.  Your company owns the original works of authorship that are created by your company’s employees while the employees are working within the scope of their employment.  For example, if your company employs a person to take photographs of babies who are brought to your company’s studio, then your company will be the copyright owner of each baby picture taken by your employee while on the job.  If you employ someone to write advertising or software code or music or movie scripts, and the employee is performing the specified task while on the job, then your company will be the copyright owner of the resulting work product.  If your company hires a contractor to do these things, and uses a proper form of written agreement, your company can acquire copyright ownership of the contractor’s resulting work product.  However, absent a written agreement transferring the copyright to your company, the contractor will generally be considered the owner of the copyright in the contractor’s resulting work product.

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