Work Made For Hire Agreement Cannot Be Retroactive

June 2013

By: David Rabinowitz

Moses & Singer Client Alert

Having independent contractors agree that a copyrightable work is a work made for hire can, under certain circumstances, allow employers to capture the entire term of the copyright. If a work is not a work made for hire, even if the full copyright is assigned to the employer, the individual creators or their successors can recover the copyright after 35 years. However, work made for hire agreements cannot be retroactive. A work that is not work made for hire when it is created cannot thereafter be made into work made for hire by a subsequent agreement.

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