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Work for Hire Agreements: Why you need them

Most business owners hire out for things like graphic design, photography, and copywriting. For instance, maybe you’ve decided to hire someone to create logos, videos, design websites, aid with marketing materials, design album and book covers, and even ghostwrite blogs. Unless you are creating all of these materials yourself, you MUST use Work for Hire Agreements to be absolutely sure that you will own the rights to the work (finished product) provided by the service provider creates for your business. Otherwise, you’re screwed because copyrights are owned by the original creator of the work.

Remember that just because you paid someone to design a logo or write a blog for you doesn’t mean you own it. Copyrights are in place to protect the creator of the work. While work prepared by an employee during the scope of employment, is automatically owned by the employer, if someone working for you is not technically an employee but an independent contractor or freelancer, you’d better have them sign a Work for Hire Agreement BEFORE beginning the working relationship.

For the typical employee, Work for Hire Agreements aren’t necessary. But if you’ve hired an independent contractor or freelancer and you haven’t had them sign a Work for Hire Agreement, you won’t be legally allowed to reproduce, copy, publish or use whatever work they’ve created for you without their permission. Doing so would be considered a copyright infringement.

A Work for Hire Agreement legally transfers the rights to a work from one person to another. It is important to note that verbal agreements will NOT hold up in court so get everything in writing and be sure to get signatures from all parties involved.

Happy hiring!

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