Get It in Writing:
The IT Professional's Guide to Essential Contracts

Chapter 2: Contracts that Define Employment Relationships
Part 1: Examples of Employment Contracts
F: Work for Hire Agreement

Usually added as a provision to employment contracts, the work for hire agreement states that any work the employee or contractor produces while employed by your business belongs to you. If you didn't own the rights to the work, your business couldn't make money from it.


For example, if you own a software development business, you would need your programmers to sign a work for hire agreement so you could sell and distribute the products they developed. In terms of copyright law, the work for hire clause ensures that you, the employer, are considered the author of the work.

Essentially, a work for hire agreement states…

  1. The employee or contractor agrees to complete work for you in the manner and timeframe agreed upon.
  2. The work contributed will be considered a "work made for hire" as defined by the copyright laws of the United States.
  3. The employer is the sole and exclusive owner and copyright proprietor of all rights and proceeds of the employee's services, no matter the stage of completion.
  4. If work falls outside the scope of "work made for hire," the employee agrees to transfer and assign the copyrights to the employer.
  5. The work doesn't necessarily have to be attributed to the employee or contractor.
  6. The employee agrees that the work submitted doesn't violate copyright laws.

These are generally short contracts. Though they sound a little severe, they are pretty standard for most employment relationships that require employees to produce original work. You can see a work for hire agreement template courtesy of

Now that you know a little more about employment contracts, let's move on to contracts you may need for engaging with customers and the public.

Next: Chapter 3: Other Contracts: Terms and Conditions Edition

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