What is a Work for Hire Contract?
A Work for Hire Contract is a legally binding contract between the client (the owner) and the service provider (hired talent) detailing the terms and conditions of the work. It defines the rights and responsibilities between an owner who commissions work and the artist who creates it.
A Work for Hire Agreement helps ensure that both you and the service provider understand what the project entails and what is to be expected of both parties. This agreement will not only protect your interests as a client, but the interests of the service provider as well. Because it protects both parties, service providers may also use this type of agreement when working with clients.
Work for hire refers to any work performed by an individual for the benefit of another individual or company. This kind of work product is called intellectual property, something of value that has no tangible form. It is any creative work that’s copyrightable including songs, stories, films, television, and music videos where two parties agree the employer remains the copyright owner. The term “work for hire” came from the copyright law and is a shorthand version of “work made for hire” which was coined in the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 applied towards work created by an independent contractor or during the course of someone’s job as an employee.
As soon as a work is in fixed form (like a book that has been printed or an artistic work that has been completed) the copyright of the work becomes the property of the person who developed it. However, work for hire is an exception to this rule. If a work is made for hire, the owner becomes the employer who hired the person to create the work.
A Contract Work for Hire is used to ensure that the service provider doesn’t own ownership over the product or the work created. Without a formal agreement in place, rights may not be transferred to the client who purchased the work. For this reason, work for hire agreements are often used when hiring writers and artists for projects.
If you are hiring a temporary contractor, you may have concerns over who owns the work you commission. The work for hire doctrine helps clarify this issue.
Generally, unless you have a particular written agreement in place before any work begins, anyone who contributes to the project can hypothetically sell the same material to someone else without your permission. This becomes particularly problematic with writing projects. Because under copyright law, authors are presumed to own the copyright to any works they create.
Under the work for hire doctrine, work for hire can only exist under two circumstances:
- Work created by independent contractors. In this case, the work must be specially ordered, which means the service provider must be compensated for creating something new. Prior to creating the work, both parties must enter into a signed and written agreement that the work will be considered a work for hire. The work must also fall under one of the nine statutory categories of commissioned works under the Copyright Act.
- Work prepared by an employee that is within their scope of employment. Any work created by an employee that is within their scope of employment is considered work for hire.
Most people are under the assumption that they own the rights to any work they have paid for. Without a written work for hire agreement in place, you may not necessarily own the rights to the work. In the absence of a work for hire contract, there may be confusion about how each party can use the work that was created. This confusion can create significant legal and financial problems for both parties. Therefore, it is important to enter a valid and enforceable work for hire agreement prior to commissioning or specially ordering work to be performed on your behalf.
For service providers, signing a work for hire agreement with your client will put their minds at ease and assure them that they own the work they have paid for.
A Work for Hire Contract Template should include the following:
- A timeline for the project
- A detailed work schedule
- Project milestones
- Terms of payment
How to fill out a Work for Hire Contract?
Using PDFRun, you can electronically fill out and download a PDF copy of a Work for Hire Contract PDF in minutes. Fill it out by following the instructions below.
Enter the date when the agreement was made, following the format: Month, Day, Year.
Enter the client’s full name.
Enter the service provider’s full name.
Terms and Conditions
Enter the type of services the service provider will provide to the client.
Enter the date the requested services must be delivered to the client, following the format: Month, Day, Year.
By filling in this part, the service provider agrees to provide the services in a competent and workmanlike fashion in accordance with applicable standards of the profession. The service provider acknowledges that all services he or she provided are subject to final approval by the client or the company prior to payment.
Enter the date the agreement shall commence and the number of weeks, months, or years, the agreement shall continue.
Enter the amount the client shall compensate the service provider, in dollars.
Billing and Payment
Enter the billing basis (if weekly or monthly) and the number of days the client shall pay invoices upon the receipt of such invoice.
In this section, the service provider acknowledges that the service he or she provided is for the benefit of the client’s use and is for the purpose of work for hire basis. The services performed shall be and remain the sole and exclusive property of the client. The client reserves the right to make changes in, deletions from, or additions to the services performed.
Client Name & Signature
Enter the client’s full name and affix his or her signature.
By signing, the client understands and agrees to everything stated in the agreement.
Service Provider Name & Signature
Enter the service provider’s name and affix his or her signature.
By signing, the service provider understands and agrees to everything stated in the agreement.