WHO OWNS COPYRIGHT?

copyright ownership

The first owner of copyright is generally the person who drew the work or otherwise authored it.  There are two exceptions to that rule:

  • The first is for works made in the course of employment. In that case the employer owns the work;
  • The second relates to commissioned work (explained below).

Where someone commissions and agrees to pay for a photograph, computer program, painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart, plan, engraving, model, sculpture, film or sound recording, the commissioner (not the creator) will own copyright in the work unless there is some written agreement to the contrary.

The fact that literary works are not covered by the commissioning rule is important. It means that a company that commissions, say, the creation of some software (which is a literary work) will not automatically own the underlying copyright in the software.  There needs to be a separate written agreement that provides that the business paying for the software will not only receive the software in tangible form, but will also own the underlying copyright.

WHO OWNS COPYRIGHT?

The first owner of copyright is generally the person who drew the work or otherwise authored it.  There are two exceptions to that rule:

  • The first is for works made in the course of employment. In that case the employer owns the work;
  • The second relates to commissioned work (explained below).

Where someone commissions and agrees to pay for a photograph, computer program, painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart, plan, engraving, model, sculpture, film or sound recording, the commissioner (not the creator) will own copyright in the work unless there is some written agreement to the contrary.

The fact that literary works are not covered by the commissioning rule is important. It means that a company that commissions, say, the creation of some software (which is a literary work) will not automatically own the underlying copyright in the software.  There needs to be a separate written agreement that provides that the business paying for the software will not only receive the software in tangible form, but will also own the underlying copyright.