Legislative Reform and Work For Hire
I announced “I Quit” to my activism efforts with regard to creator rights just the other day, though I’ve been telling my peeps I was getting out of the game for some months. My frustration at being completely unable to convince my colleagues to concentrate our efforts on legislative reform, as opposed to trying to convince billionaire CEO’s to throw creators a bone, finally sent me over the edge. I’m going to draw comics and putter in my garden.
Fortunately, there are better, more resilient minds at work on the problem, and I strongly advise you to read this article at The New York Law Journal, “Sounds Like a Broken Record: Analyzing legislative failure and the copyright doctrines of work for hire and termination”. It addresses the Jack Kirby case (which, I still believe, may be a lost one,) as well as other serious problems with the application of the work for hire doctrine and the “instance and expense test”.
There are also very important words about independent musicians and self funded projects. For more information about Sound Recordings as Works Made for Hire, GO HERE.
The goal of the Copyright Act’s termination provisions—”to relieve authors of the consequences of ill-advised and unremunerative grants that had been made before the author had a fair opportunity to appreciate the true value of his work product” —are undoubtedly noble. This sense of fairness, however, does not necessarily carry through to Congress’ failure to include a provision in the Copyright Act’s definition of a work for hire so as to recognize works created the hiring party’s “instance and expense.”
Thanks to Jeremiah Avery, who is always coming up with great links to share with you.