Make sure the copyrights of your work are handed over to you!

Who owns the copyright to your work?

You might be surprised to find it's not you.
I'm no expert and I'm definitely not a legal expert, but I stumbled across something a month or so back that made me investigate more.

Maybe you pay someone to write your songs, your music, to record your recordings, to take your photos, to make your artwork, to make your videos and a whole host of other stuff.

Who then owns the copyright to that work?

You probably think you because it was made for you.

Did the rights to it ever get passed to you though? How was the person that made things for you paid? Were they directly employed by you or freelance? Did you even pay them?

If you paid them in the form of actually employing them then you probably own the copyright because they were working under your instruction.

If you paid them but they were not a direct employee of yours then the copyright would more than likely of needed to be passed over to you in writing.

If you didn't pay them at all then I very much doubt anything was put into place to earn you the right to be the copyright holder.

In an ideal world everything would be set in stone before a project begins. Steps would be taken to ensure the copyright is passed over to you upon completion of the project. Documents would be signed (either online or in real life). Be sure to make sure you take these steps so that your are not left out in the cold one day.

Below is a link to the simplest explanation I could find. This is a complex area though and if you feel you are affected then probably the best thing you should do is seek professional legal advice.

If I pay someone to create something for me, do I own the copyright to the work?

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