Subject: Works for hire (was Re: GNU and classified software)
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 12:51:48 -0700
Sun, 13 May 2001 12:51:48 -0700
on Sat, May 12, 2001 at 02:48:40AM -0400, ( wrote:
> writes:
> > The contractor using GCC is not a problem -- this is a work for hire,
> No, it isn't.

Sharp eyes, and yes, this is the general understanding.  "Work for hire"
for contract programming is generally contractually specified, not a
statuatory mandate.

> According to, USC title 17
> section 101 says:
> A ''work made for hire'' is - 
>   (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her
>   employment; or
>   (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a
>   contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or
>   other audiovisual work, as a sound recording, as a translation, as a


> (1) does not cover this case, because a contractor is, by definition,
> not an employee; and (2) does not cover this case, because the
> modified GCC is not a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual
> work, a sound recording, a translation, a supplementary work, a
> compilation, an instructional text, a test, answer material for a
> test, or an atlas.

Interesting side note.

There's been some suggestion that public display and performance rights
might be reserved for software under US copyright statute, as a possible
hook for triggering source distribution obligations.  I've heard from
several attorneys that, given a sufficiently broad definition, many
programs could be considered audiovisual works.  Which might have
interesting impacts on the work-for-hire issue.

Karsten M. Self <>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal

["application/pgp-signature" not shown]