Search

WFH-101

July 29th, 2011 by Alicia Calzada

Work for Hire. To many it’s an ugly word. To others, it is just something they live with. What it shouldn’t be is ignored. If you are a freelancer, and you sign a contract providing for a work for hire, you need to know what it means. There are plenty of articles to tell you to avoid it and why, but this is intended to help you understand the basics.

What is a Work for Hire Contract?

Copyright is all about authorship. The author owns the copyright, that is, the right to copy and publish the work. When you are a staff photographer, the photos you produce on the job are automatically work for hire. The employer is consider the “author” and therefore they own the  copyright. So if it comes with a salary, benefits, insurance, and a 401(k), it’s probably a work for hire. The employer owns the copyright and all of the benefits that go with it, such as control over where and when it is published. The upside is that you have a salary, benefits, insurance and a 401(k).

What a work-for-hire contract does is create the same kind of relationship between a client and someone who is not an employee. In other words, the client gets the benefit of the copyright and total control over the work. But you don’t get a salary, insurance or a 401(k).  Not just any photo assignment is eligible for work-for-hire agreements. Rather, only “collective works, motion pictures, translations, supplementary work, atlases, and test material” can gain work-for-hire status which basically transforms the client into the author. Even if a work falls into a category making it eligible for WFH status, there must be an express agreement, signed by the photographer.

Is it a WFH?

How do you know if you are agreeing to a work for hire? First, as noted above, if you are an employee whose job it is to take pictures, this is a work for hire automatically. If you are a freelancer, the language in a work-for-hire contract will specifically say “work for hire” or “work made for hire.” Sometimes it will be a little more subtle and state that you are assigning the copyright, which has a similar practical effect. Most WFH contracts actually say both.

Signed Contract Required for WFH

It is important for both editors and photographers to know that outside of the context of employment, a work for hire only arises in circumstances where there is a signed contract and only is available in certain circumstances. There is no “implied” work  for hire. A client cannot tell you that “work for hire” is their policy and by working for them you automatically agree to it. You must actually agree to it in writing, before the assignment. Furthermore, a client cannot tell you after you have already shot the assignment that you must sign a WFH contract to get paid (this could be an ineffective modification, unless there is additional payment offered).

The Gray Areas

So, if you’re a full time staff photographer, it’s clear you’re in a work-for-hire when you are on the job. If you sign a work-for-hire contract for a photo assignment for a publication, you are probably in a work for hire. But there may be some less exact circumstances that you find yourself in.

I created this 3-step chart a couple of years ago to help clarify when something might legally be a work for hire, and when it isn’t. The chart examines a series of factors that make it more or less likely that it might be a work for hire. Click below to download it.

Work for Hire chart

“Work for hire” not the only words to avoid.

It is important to note that while “work for hire” ensures a transfer of copyrights, it is not the only way you can end up transferring your rights. Some contracts simply state that you “assign” your copyright to them. This also must be in writing, but it has the same effect. You should also watch out for contracts that give the client the “exclusive” right to use the photo. You may still retain the copyright in that case, but it’s pretty useless if you don’t have the right to use the photo.

It’s important not to be intimidated by this language, but to learn about it, and learn to spot it. If you are like most photographers, you will find that giving up your copyright is rarely a good deal, but many photographers also have decided that in a business, everything has a price, and there are some circumstances that warrant it. While photography can feel very personal, it is important to approach such business decisions from a business perspective.

Happy Shooting!

Posted in business, contracts, copyright, photojournalism, students | 48 Comments »



48 Responses to “WFH-101”

  1.   Tiara Joung Says:

    I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me realize in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  2.   Trenton Bacayo Says:

    hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate a lot more about your post on AOL? I demand an expert on this area to solve my problem. Perhaps that

  3.   Trena Barrott Says:

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “Any man would be forsworn to gain a kingdom.” by Roger Zelazny.

  4.   Stephany Daines Says:

    I enjoy, lead to I found exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  5.   Laurel Nalevanko Says:

    I’m perpetually thought about this, appreciate it for posting.

  6.   Corey Stookey Says:

    I appreciate your intriguing site. excellent information. I hope you produce others. I will continue subscribing

  7.   Carolee Delmonte Says:

    This actually answered my problem, thanks!

  8.   bajar musica gratis Says:

    Awesome article.

  9.   Habibi Says:

    Good

  10.   Roberto Desjardin Says:

    Descarga musica instantaneamente, escucha musica en ares.

  11.   Keneth Ladell Says:

    gosh, i dont think ill be able to sleep!

  12.   Referencement 62 Says:

    Great blog but honestly the sheer amount of Ads.

  13.   ooogarden Says:

    I’m not sure why but this weblog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  14.   name Says:

    fresh, flavourful coffee experimenting with various beans and roasting methods perfecting the roasting process and saving money.,

  15.   name Says:

    communities that grow it. Coffee was incorporated into the fair-trade movement in , when the Max Havelaar mark was introduced in the Netherlands. The very ,

  16.   Florida Lock & Key Says:

    Florida Lock & Key 3620 Manatee Ave W Bradenton, FL 34201 (941) 748-5625

  17.   Hilma Gorena Says:

    Ive to confess that i typically get bored to learn the entire thing but i believe you may add some value. Bravo !

  18.   Julia Quaglieri Says:

    lol I used to be so hoping the shark would jump out of the drinking water after they all were searching over the boat.

  19.   Ciera Carlisle Says:

    (BTW, my new favorite baseball nickname? Texas hurler Derek Holland. The Dutch Oven.)

  20.   name Says:

    coffees from these same origins, we surely would not have experienced as rich and diverse a set of sensory expressions as we did with these honey coffees.,

  21.   Lori Says:

    This is widely believed to be the most fantastic feature
    of this timepiece. With the model GD910 LG is entering the wrist watch mobile phone market.
    In the 1950s Casio set in motion their first calculator.

  22.   Selena Persons Says:

    Wow! Thank you! I continually needed to write on my website something like that. Can I take a portion of your post to my website?

  23.   Vaughn Vassey Says:

    I dont usually reply to posts but I will in this case. WoW. Great articles & Nice a site. pleasing terrific great.

  24.   e deklaracje 2014 Says:

    Sweet internet site , super pattern , very clean and utilise friendly .

  25.   name Says:

    coffee, to the Venetian port. From Venice, it was introduced to the rest of Europe. Coffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian ,

  26.   name Says:

    this was also due to the reduced availability of tea from British merchants.,

  27.   name Says:

    Coffee is often consumed alongside or instead of breakfast by many at home. It is often served at the end of a meal, normally with a dessert, and at times ,

  28.   name Says:

    Most widely known as coffeehouses or cafes, establishments serving prepared coffee or other hot beverages have existed for over five hundred years.,

  29.   name Says:

    In East Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in native religious ceremonies that were in competition with the Christian Church. As a result, the Ethiopian Church ,

  30.   dogkill Says:

    I’m about to run out of credit

  31.   Independent milwaukee City Girls Says:

    Try to get some good stability in your own life. You will have a partner that loves anyone, if you receive bored to death, probably go to a couple of vendors occasionally.|You’re a whoremonger. Bought it. If anyone doesn’t like it, screw Them. I’m certainly not pleased with screwing hookers yet I’m certain as shit not ashamed of the idea. I’m merely ashamed easily make a dumb-ass mistake and make sure never to help it become twice. |{

  32.   Gracie Says:

    Looking for a job

  33.   programy pity Says:

    I view something truly interesting about your weblog so I saved to fav.

  34.   Engine Block Says:

    There is evidently a bunch to know about this. I believe you made various nice points in features also.

  35.   mobile application development in kolkata Says:

    Its really a great blog with high quality materials. I am blessed to have reach you.

  36.   gry dla dzieci darmowe Says:

    Check it yourself http://www.taern.com

  37.   Automotive Repair Says:

    I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I

  38.   Sexual Assault Says:

    There is visibly a bunch to realize about this. I think you made certain nice points in features also.

  39.   Sharika Syta Says:

    Exactly my theory as nicely,,,

  40.   name Says:

    penetration. The concept of Ct was first proposed by Fritz Haber and is sometimes referred to as Haber’s Law, which assumes that exposure to minute of ,

  41.   name Says:

    skin of the forearm for to minutes. A distinct hive should develop if a patient suffers cold urticaria. This is different than the normal redness that can ,

  42.   name Says:

    drug as a wakefulness promoting agent. Studies have suggested that “has limited potential for large-scale abuse” and “does not possess an ,

  43.   Cooper Says:

    I’d like to pay this in, please http://buyzyban.info zyban 150 mg tablet sa glx and other staff are quite helpful in these instances.

  44.   Mike Says:

    Could you send me an application form? http://hasebikes.com/28-0-Links.html price of abilify Discuss how pharmaceutical companies play a role in the medications dispensed

  45.   name Says:

    of dry green coffee seeds. The content of caffeine does not change during maturation of green coffee seeds. Lower concentrations of theophylline, ,

  46.   Major Iveans Says:

    Aspects In vimax testimonial – Some Insights

  47.   Bernadine Stammer Says:

    plz give me an appropriate price of the car and all specfications…

  48.   Sponsor Says:

    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this increase.

Leave a Reply