Work-for-hire means that I hire you to do work and I own the results of your work. It can apply to a variety of work outputs. If you agree to the arrangement or a work-for-hire contract, you are giving up your rights to the work in the present and in the future. Some employment letters of agreement/contracts explicitly state that any work you do as an employee is owned by the company too.
Short-term, work-for-hire means money in your pocket. Long-term it may be a win if the work you’ve produced is not a part of the hiring entities profit centers. Or, long-term it may be a loss for you if the company, which now owns your brainpower in the form of their product, ends up making lots of money selling what you produced for them.
Corporate, government and non-profit organizations use work-for-hire contracts. It is to their advantage to do so. This means that you want to charge properly for the work you are producing for someone else’s benefit. Know what the going rate for hourly work is in your field. Discover what a typical contracted project rate is for the work you are being asked to produce. Not knowing going-rates means that you are over-pricing yourself out of the market OR that you are underpricing your work, thereby losing money from the start.
Examples of work-for-hire projects I have completed over the years, or have hired others to do for my company include:
- Writing blogs without my name appearing as the writer.
- Writing an article for a newspaper or magazine. My name appears. I own the ideas. The hiring entity owns the copy-righted article as it is written and published.
- Ghost-writing an award-winning travel/self-help book in which my name appears as an editor.
- Educational materials that I produce and an organization has license to use is straddling the work-for-hire meaning. I was hired to deliver the workshop and teach them how to deliver it on their own in the future, with them paying a per handout licensing fee back to me.
- Website production. I’ve hired three people over the years to build, re-build JanaKemp.com. I own the site and everything on it. Their work produced what people see online.
- Workshop manual assembly. It is a work-for-hire project and I retain ownership of ALL the materials and assembled products.
- Marketing materials. They design it. I pay for it. I own it in perpetuity. From my Jana M Kemp logo to individual marketing pieces, this has worked out well for me.
- Artwork and logo design. Someone else designs it and I own it.
What work-for-hire can you offer?
What work-for-hire do you consume?
Action item: When in doubt, check things out. Seek an attorney (which I am not) to give you legal advice.
Note from Jana: Your meetings – online and in person – are your most important tool for achieving team successes. If you’re ready to take strategic steps toward managing meetings and results as effectively as possible, we’d love to talk with you abot partnering.