HiI have an online magazine/blog. I am in the process of looking for freelance writers to contribute to my site, by writing articles for me remotely and I am paying them remotely. My question is, do I need to write a short contract stating that:-I am the copyright owner of what he provided-He may not provide me a copyrighted material but just original work-If he provides me a copied material from somewhere else and the owner of that material comes after me, he will be liable. -Our relationship is not employer employee relationship but he is an independent contractorDo i need a contract stating this? Or, an email listing these would be fine? Or nothing is necessary, as what I listed above is pretty straightforward and they are automatically true anyway?If I need a contract, did I miss any other important item here?
HelloCustomerYes, you it be wise for you to have the writers execute what is known as a "Work for Hire Agreement." Normally when an employee creates a work for an employer, the copyright to the work belongs to the employer. However, if there is not an employer - employee relationship, the copyright belongs to the creator as soon as the work is created. Thus, in the case of writing, the writer would own the copyright as soon as the work is written down in some form. So, it is necessary to have a contract with the writers before the work written making it clear that the copyright belongs to you.You can find several sample work for hire agreements online. I will give you a few to look at which you would want to modify to match your exact circumstances. But take a look at the following:Work for Hire AgreementSample Work for Hire AgreementWork for Hire ContractI also want you to take a look at Legal Zoom's Work for Hire Guide which explains the work for law hire, and the necessary elements such a contract should contain. You have to pay for their actual contract, which you may want to purchase as well.It is also wise to include a clause in the contract that the writer will only supply original work, and that the writer will indemnify you or hold you harmless if the writer supplies you with any copyrighted material.I hope this helps.Thomas
so i should use the term work for hire, instead of an independent contractor?i will probably never see him/her in person, so when signing the contract, although i have no proof of his identity, is it enough if he sends me a signed contract by email? i mean in theory he could use any name...what happens in that case? instead of a contract, is an email enough to confirm all these terms? or a contract is definitely much better? sometimes people get intimidated by a contract and i may have hard time finding writers...
Yes, you should use the term "work for hire" which is the recognized term of art set forth in the copyright code - 17 U.S. Code § 101 (definitions) and 17 U.S. Code § 201(b).Well, if the writer somehow beaks the contract and you want to sue him you will need some way to identify a real person and have his address so that you can locate him to serve papers. If you don't have the identity of a real person, you for all practical purposes will have no way to recover against him.You can try using a service such as Echo Sign or Signature Confirm to handle electronic signatures of contracts.Thomas
Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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