copyright law

work made for hire

Under the Copyright Act, a work made for hire is:

"1) A work prepared by an employee within the scope of his/her employment; or

2) A work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a mo-tion 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."

sound recording

Under the Copyright Act, a "sound recording" is a work consisting of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds, fixed in a tangible medium (e.g. a disk, tape, or phonorecord). However, the sounds accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work are not considered sound recordings. See 17 U.S.C. §101.

rule of doubt

The rule under which the U.S. Copyright Office allows software object code to be deposited in connection with a computer program registration. Under the rule there is an express understanding that doubt exists as to whether the code qualifies for copyright protection should litigation later occur. In essence, the Copyright Office is saying, "We will let you deposit object code, but since we can't read or understand it, we won't commit ourselves as to its copyrightability." If the registration is accomplished under the rule of doubt, the copyright owner may be unable to claim the presumption of ownership -- an important benefit of registration -- should the issue end up in court because of an alleged copyright infringement.


1) A form of compensation based on a percentage of revenue or unit sales generated under an agreement, typically a patent or copyright licensing contract. 2) A compulsory payment required under statute in exchange for the right to use or sell certain property -- for example, a statutory royalty that is paid by the sellers of musical ringtones to the copyright owners of the underlying songs.

published work

When copies of a copyrighted work are made available to the public on an unrestricted basis. Both published and unpublished works are entitled to copyright protection, but some of the rules differ. For example, the duration of a copyright in an unpublished work made for an employer (a work made for hire), or an anonymous or pseudonymous work, can last up to 25 years longer than if the work were published.


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