What Is a Work for Hire

Glossary > Work for Hire

💬 Definition of Work for Hire:

Work for hire is a type of agreement in which an author is hired to create a book, article, or other written material in exchange for a flat fee. The work is for a client or employer who will own the copyright of the finished product. In publishing, these agreements are often used by companies or individuals who want to write such materials but do not have the necessary expertise or resources to create them.

Related questions about a work for hire:

Who owns the copyright of a work for hire?

When an author signs a work-for-hire agreement, they give up all ownership and administration rights for the life of a work's copyright in exchange for a flat fee.

Under U.S. copyright law and other jurisdictions, the employer, not the employee, is considered the legal author of a work-for-hire material. 

It's important to do your research and talk to legal counsel before entering a work-for-hire agreement. 

How is the author of a work-for-hire compensated?

Under a work-for-hire agreement, the author is usually paid a flat fee for their work, and the copyright to the finished product belongs to the client or employer, not the author. This means that the author has no ownership or control over the work and cannot claim any royalties or other compensation after that one flat fee. Additionally, the author may not get credited and mentioned in the book, or it may be credited in a way that is not prominent.

When is the work-for-hire agreement used?

Work-for-hire agreements are commonly used in the publishing industry for projects such as ghostwriting, where an author is hired to write a book or other written material that will be published under someone else's name. These agreements are also used for commissioned projects, such as educational or instructional materials, or for creating content for a company's website or marketing materials.

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