Who can claim copyright?
One of the biggest issues that people face, especially dealing with websites and online products, is who owns the copyright?
Copyright protection enables the owner to claim against a person who infringes their rights, to recover income that they may have lost as a result of that infringement. It also means you get to keep using the created work.
Copyright protection also enables the owner to pretty much do what they want with their copyrighted work.
The thing is, to have copyright ownership, you actually have to either create the work yourself, or have a WRITTEN assignment or transfer of the copyright to you.
Never assume that because you are paying someone to produce something for you that you have copyright in the resulting product. You are almost guaranteed to run into trouble.
Have a written agreement stating that you are the owner of the copyright in the work once complete and that the creator gives up all intellectual property rights as soon as they are paid.
In a work for hire situation, you want the creator to give up all of their intellectual property rights in the work, including moral rights, as soon as they are paid.
You want to do this to ensure that you can use the created work in the way you always intended, without being stopped, or sued by the original creator.
Once you own the copyright in a work, you can license different aspects to other people. For example, if you own copyright in a book that someone wants to translate, you can license the translation and publication, within whatever language and geographical boundaries that you can negotiate. You could license the translation into many different languages to many different companies. Equally you might have someone interested in licensing the film rights, and so on.
Negotiating for full copyright after the fact is a lot harder than doing it up front. If we put together some basic agreements for you to use, what would you like to see included and what would you want to use them for?
In the case of copyright, gaining forgiveness after the fact is not always easier than getting the permission up front. Get your rights right! It can cost a lot of money to aquire an assignment of the copyright in a work once its value has already been proven. Just think about the money people are prepared to pay for the rights to music.