Key point 9-05.01. Copyright ownership vests initially in the author of a work.
Who owns the copyright in a work, and what difference does it make? Section 201(a) of the Copyright Act states simply that “copyright in a work … vests initially in the author or authors of the work.” The Act goes on to state that “the authors of a joint work are co-owners of copyright in the work.” Again, this is straightforward and needs no explanation. There is one aspect of copyright ownership that is more difficult to understand, namely, a “work made for hire.” Works made for hire are addressed in the following section.