Creating something new, whether it is a book, piece of art, or a song, requires putting in a lot of effort and time. When someone has worked so hard to invent a new product, they expect that they own the rights to this product. This means that a Florida creator expects that they own the copyright in the work that they have created. Generally, this means they own the right to reproduce the work and earn profit from it. However, it is important to note that this is not always the case.
If the artist sells the copyright or if the artist is someone’s employee, then the copyright ownership may not belong to the artist. When an employee creates something for their employer, they work is considered a ‘work for hire’. It can also refer to work created by an independent contractor hired to do something specific. In these instances, the employer or the person who hired the independent contractor owns the copyright.
For example, someone who designs a webpage, writes an article, makes a computer program, or draws something for a company or a business, it is considered a work for hire. The employee-employer relationship does not have to be legally defined for this to be considered a work for hire—courts can find one exists even if the parties did not label themselves as such. However, if an employee creates the work on their own time, it may not be considered a work for hire, but even then, it has to seen which resources were used and where the creation took place.
Contracts can outline who owns intellectual property rights, including the copyright in a work and it is important to know what one’s rights are in such situations. While many may think reading a contract’s fine print is enough to know where one stands legally, it might be helpful to have an experienced attorney look over one’s documents to ensure one’s rights are being protected.