Foundry Law Group Blog

Work For Hire vs. Assignment of Work Product

This table does not constitute legal advice – if you have questions, please contact [email protected]


Assignment of Work Product

Defined by the United States Copyright Act of 1976 ((17 U.S.C. § 101)) as:1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; OR2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.  


Defined by the general principles of contract law, state and federal business and employment regulations. Overly broad assignments and holdover clauses risk being held unenforceable in court.

Work-for-Hire clauses protect copyrightable work – e.g. artwork, work that is part of a motion picture or video, work included in a textbook or atlas Assignment of Work product clauses assign title and interest in inventions and ideas to the assignee (i.e. client, company, or employer)
Language in any Work-for-Hire agreement should specify the nature of the relationship between the Company and the person undertaking work.Work-for-Hire agreements with someone other than an employee (e.g., an independent contractor) must be for work that falls within one of nine specific categories: contribution to a collective work; part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; translation; supplementary work; compilation; instructional test; test; answer material for a test; or atlas. If the work requested does not fall into one of these categories, there is no Work-for Hire protection. Other important provisions that are generally included in Assignment of Work Product clauses are:1) Disclosure Language: Requires the employee to promptly disclose all details of all inventions, discoveries, improvements etc. that result from the use of the employer’s facilities, equipment, material etc.2) Power of Attorney: Allows the employer to exercise ownership rights without the employee’s consent.



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