Work for Hire Agreement (Audiovisual Production) (Pro-Company)
This Work for Hire Agreement is for a company engaging an individual to provide services on an audiovisual production. The authors have drafted this Work for Hire Agreement in the company’s favor. Nevertheless, this agreement aims to be reasonable and includes provisions commonly negotiated in work-made-for-hire agreements.
Companies hire individuals to provide services for audiovisual productions, such as:
- A promotional or educational video or other audiovisual production on the company’s website, YouTube channel, or other social media platforms.
- A documentary film to be distributed by television, internet streaming, or other digital platforms, including social media.
- A corporate training video.
Companies intending to create and use materials that may be subject to copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights and personal rights of third parties must ensure that all appropriate rights, licenses, and permissions are in place, a process known as rights clearance. In order to secure necessary rights, companies can implement a work-made-for-hire agreement.
While it can be advantageous for both parties, independent contractor classification involves careful consideration of several standards as well as exposure to liability, including potential liability for unpaid overtime pay, taxes, and employee benefits.
Companies engaging independent contractors should ensure that the arrangement satisfies the requirements for independent contractor status of the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state government agencies, and courts in relevant jurisdictions.
Drafting and Negotiating Considerations
Short-form Work for Hire Agreements are drafted with an objective of being:
- Relatively brief and easy to understand.
- Signed by the individual with little or no negotiation.
Therefore, like this Agreement, they typically include relatively short terms. When tailoring the Agreement, one should consider whether the particular circumstances require longer, more detailed provisions. For example, if the contributor may perform services in a dangerous or otherwise unstable location, a waiver of liability and assumption of risk provision should be included.
This Work for Hire Agreement assumes that:
- The individual is an independent contractor, not an employee of the commissioning company. Companies should carefully evaluate the requirements for independent contractor status to determine whether the company should engage the individual as an independent contractor or hired as an employee.
- The individual is contracting on the individual’s own behalf, and a third party does not employ the individual. If the individual is an employee of another company, the other company may have rights in the results and proceeds of the individual’s services if it can claim they were performed within the scope of the individual’s employment.
- The company is a US entity, the individual is a US resident domiciled in the US, and the work-made-for-hire services are to take place in the US. If either party organizes, operates, or domiciles in or any part of the transaction takes place in a foreign jurisdiction the parties may need to modify these terms to comply with applicable laws in the relevant foreign jurisdiction.
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