June 2024

14 Jun 24

Many lawyers take a belt-and-suspenders approach to clauses that are intended to transfer copyright ownership from the developer-vendor to the customer with respect to the customer’s deliverables it is paying for, when representing the customer. “Let’s call it an assignment,” they say, and “let’s also call it a work for hire, just in case.”

The problem here is that in certain circumstances, it can be crucial to know with objective certainty whether copyright has been assigned, or whether ownership of it passed automatically via work-for-hire doctrine under applicable copyright law (such as the US Copyright Act’s definition of work made for hire in section 101).