Question about copyright when working "in-house"

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  1. #1
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    Question about copyright when working "in-house"

    I'm currently working with a small book publishing press as the on-staff illustrator. I'm unsure about typical protocols, and because this company has never had an illustrator on staff before (and I've never been on staff before), I need to find out: if I'm on-staff, does my work done for this company remain under my copyright or revert to theirs? These are book covers, interior illustrations, etc. They are willing to keep copyright under my name or register a joint copyright (is that even done?), but from my research on the web before I was led to believe in this situation the copyright should be registered under the publishing company... I'm a bit lost, and any help and advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated!

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    If they are willing to let you retain anything while an employee, take advantage of it.

    In my experience, most employee contracts stipulate everything you produce under salary is theirs. If you have nothing in your contract that transfers rights, you're in a messy situation; by default, everything an artist creates defaults to his ownership, but everything an employee creates is usually owned by the company -- depending on local laws this could be more or less complicated.

    Honestly, get them to grant you as much control as they are willing to let you have and get it in writing.

    ~R

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  5. #3
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    Sounds like they're pretty cool so just talk it over with them and then make sure you have it all in writing. Just FYI - Generally as an employee (on-staff) you are in a "work-for-hire" situation which means they own all the copyrights. If they're willing to allow you to retain the copyright then great - avoid that "joint copyright" thing - not really done that way.

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  7. #4
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    Thanks for the advice! For someone just starting out, it really helps.

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