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Copyrighting The Script

Have you had this kind of case?

     
6:37 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Dear Experts,
My programer created the script for me, it is quite a good script and I'd like to get it copyrighted in my name. Can you tell me what procedures are needed to be carried out in order to get USA and World copyright for the script?
1:50 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Am I the first with this kind of situation?
5:14 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Short version - talk to a lawyer
5:36 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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yes, that's definitely an option, thank you for the reply,

but would be great if anybody is here who has already gone through this/or similar process. Would like to hear his/her opinion/advice too.

6:20 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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To start do you have a contract with the programmer specifying that:
a. The script is their original work (not copied from elsewhere)
b. Now that you paid them for it, you own the copyright to that script

You can read more at [copyright.gov...]

6:48 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You're probably not getting many replies because basically, you've paid someone else to produce something and expect to copyright their work. Which is like paying a contractor to build a house and copyrighting the design. This is only a worthy venture if you are the designer of the house (or script) and the house introduces something that has never been done before, which is not very likely.
7:03 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I spoke to my programmer about giving me all rights(for additional fee of course), he agreed.
also I'd like to mention that creating the script by my programmer is not mentioned in any documentation, I just paid him and he created script that is all.
so what should I do after this? Should we make any contract or just take this script to some institution for copirighting, or anything else?
7:08 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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To start do you have a contract with the programmer specifying that:
a. The script is their original work (not copied from elsewhere)
b. Now that you paid them for it, you own the copyright to that script

You can read more at [copyright.gov...]
"a" is correct, "b" is 100% wrong. The creator of an original work does not relinquishes their copyrights to their work unless they explicitly sign over said rights to another party. The only exception to this is when someone creates something in their capacity as an EMPLOYEE of their employer in which case the employer owns the copyright. There is a whole bunch of legal tests that must be proved to prove an employee/employer relationship.

If you want to own the copyright to the script you will need the creator of the script to agree to sign over the rights to the script, which in all likelihood will require you paying them an additional fee. The reality is that your best hope is that the creator is willing to sign over non-exclusive rights for you to make derivative works of the script.

Most designers/programmers, my self included, will not turn over exclusive rights to any code because we like to reuse code segments in other works. If we signed over exclusive rights every time we created something for a client, we would have to start from scratch every single time we started a new project, which just isn't efficient.

--Edit--

Looks like you posted an update while I was replying.

You will need to find a copyright release that was written by a lawyer (PM me and I can give you the URL of the site I get my Copyright releases from). Nothing is official until the creator has signed the release and turned the signed release over to you.

[edited by: KenB at 7:11 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2007]

7:31 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"b" is 100% wrong.
I meant that the contract would need to specify the transfer of the copyright
7:36 pm on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I meant that the contract would need to specify the transfer of the copyright 

Good luck, like I said any coder that is smart will refuse to transfer more than non-exclusive rights.
9:15 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hello Guys,
Thank you for all your feedback.
If I get "non-exclusive rights" will I be able to sell the script? or will the programmer able to sell it also?
8:10 pm on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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As long as the non-exclusive copyright explicitly grants you permission to sell derivative works based on the script I see no problems with this. I suspect most programmers would agree to this for a fee. The big reason a programmer wouldn't want to sell their exclusive rights is that it would simply hinder their efforts to do programming for others because they wouldn't be able to reuse code. A non-exclusive license would address your needs as well as the needs of the programmer.
9:29 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thank you KanB, you helped me so much.
11:38 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Noximus

Question, who designed the concept of the script? You or the programmer? While this does nothing that would affect the copyright issue you are discussing above it would be interesting to know. I have designed the concept of a few web sites and the scripts or database applications they used and simply paid my programmer to write in code what I had already developed conceptually and found the market for and hence would sell after it was developed.

I did as stated above which was to get them to sign an agreement that owned the finished product and could sell, transfer, etc. my interest in this site and/script.

Fortune Hunter

9:27 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Fortune Hunter,
I have designed the concept of the sript.
Does this change anything?