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Although the general rule is that the person who creates the work is its author, the exception is a work made for hire. When a work qualifies as a work made for hire, the employer, or commissioning party, is considered to be the author. Work-Made-For-Hire Under the 1976 Copyright Act is defined 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,
    • a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work,
    • a translation,
    • a compilation,
    • an instructional text,
    • a test,
    • answer material for a test,
    • an atlas, or
    • if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.
    • a supplementary work, a “supplementary work” is a work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes, and an “instructional text” is a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities.

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