Articles

Chad Rutkowski Looks at Software Development as a Work for Hire Issue

Articles / May 18, 2016

Partner Chad Rutkowski authored an article published in the April 26, 2016, issue of The Licensing Journal. The article, “Can Software Be Created as a Work for Hire?” examines the issue of establishing copyright ownership of a software program created by an independent contractor.

Rutkowski reviews a number of relevant cases and finds that “the decisions that have found that software does qualify [as a work for hire] have done so in dicta, and no Circuit Court decision has found definitively that software meets one of nine work-for-hire categories.” He notes, however, that there is good reason to take a “belts and suspenders” approach to drafting and include “both work for hire language and express assignment language. You never know how and when a court might enforce it [in light of the decisions handed down to date].”

Rutkowski was invited to include his article in The Licensing Journal after the editor read a previous version on the firm’s Copyright, Content, and Platforms blog.

Read the article.

Blog

In The Blogs

Previous Next
Copyright, Content, and Platforms
2017 – The Year in Which Copyright Went Beyond Source Code
January 16, 2018
2017 was a big year for raising the profile of copyright in protecting computer programs. Two cases in particular helped bring attention to a myth that was addressed and dispelled some time ago but persists in some circles nonetheless...
Read More ->
Copyright, Content, and Platforms
Spanski Enterprises, Inc. v. Telewizja Polska, S.A.: How Far Is Too Far When It Comes to the Extraterritorial Reach of US Copyright Law?
October 19, 2017
As a general matter, acts of copyright infringement that occur outside the jurisdiction of the United States are not actionable under U.S. copyright law. “The Copyright Act, it has been observed time and again, does not apply...
Read More ->
Copyright, Content, and Platforms
UGC Uncertainty Consternation Continues
September 7, 2017
Amended 9th Circuit Decision Does Not Clarify the Extent to Which Service Providers Can Manually Screen for Inappropriate User Content In April 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals startled online service providers that allow users to...
Read More ->
Copyright, Content, and Platforms
Determining Fair Use Under the Copyright Act: Judge Versus Jury
June 23, 2017
When the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that copyright infringement lawsuits were subject to the Seventh Amendment’s right to jury trial, the natural consequence of that ruling was that fair use would likewise become a jury issue. However, at...
Read More ->
Copyright, Content, and Platforms
Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Real: Drake’s Use of Jimmy Smith’s Commentary on ‘Real Music’ Considered Fair Use
June 13, 2017
On May 30, 2017, Judge William H. Pauley III, in the Southern District of New York, ruled that rapper-singer-songwriter Drake was permitted to use a sample of jazz artist Jimmy Smith based on the fair use doctrine, even though Drake and...
Read More ->