From: Steve Coker
Date: November 12, 1998


Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form.
The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the
author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights
through the author can rightfully claim copyright. 

In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is
considered to be the author. Section 101 of the copyright statute defines a
"work made for hire" as: 

 *  (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her
employment; or 

 *  (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a 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, if the parties
expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be
considered a work made for hire.... 

The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless
there is an agreement to the contrary. 

Copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work
is distinct from copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially
with the author of the contribution.

Two General Principles 

 *  Mere ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy or
phonorecord does not give the possessor the copyright. The law provides that
transfer of ownership of any material object that embodies a protected work does
not of itself convey any rights in the copyright.

 *  Minors may claim copyright, but state laws may regulate the business
dealings involving copyrights owned by minors. For information on relevant state
laws, consult an attorney. 

U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

[email protected]

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