What Does it Mean When a Song is a "Work For Hire"?

For starters, you may not own the copyright.

A work for hire agreement is when you give up all ownership and administration rights for the life of a work’s copyright in exchange for a flat fee. It is an exception to the prevailing rule that the person who creates a work is its legally recognized author.

Under U.S. copyright law and in some other jurisdictions, if a work is "made for hire," the employer — not the employee (composer) — is considered the legal author. This means that the employee is not entitled to the work’s publishing rights despite the fact that they were the composer

This is why it’s important to do your research, and consult with legal counsel when necessary, before entering a work for hire agreement. For more information, please visit this page from the U.S. Copyright Office.


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Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.