Work created by an employee, within the scope of their position, is presumptively the property of the employer. This is called a “Work for Hire” creation. It is best to have the scope of employment clearly defined so there is no confusion on this point.
The same is not true for Independent Contractors, Freelancers, or Consultants. For these outside contractors you will need a Work for Hire Agreement to ensure you own all rights to the work created.
A Work for Hire Agreement only applies to contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion 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.
For more information: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf.
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Elliott Stapleton Attorney with CMRS Law