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Initial Ownership

A person who creates the work and fixes it or causes it to be fixed in tangible form is called the author.  Initial ownership of a copyright is vested with the author or authors of a work.  The initial owner may exploit the work himself or transfer some or all the rights to others.

However, pursuant to the Copyright Act the initial owner of a work that was a work “made for hire” is the employer or commissioning party who paid for the work and took the economic risk of it. In addition, a joint work is a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention to merge their contributions into inseparable or independent parts of a unitary whole.  The authors of a joint work are the initial co-owners of a single copyright in the work.

A collective work is a collection of independent, separately copyrightable works of authorship, such as a newspapers, magazines, or encyclopedia.  In such cases, the authors of each individual work in the collection are the initial owners of the copyright in that work.

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