Your company just hired someone to help develop your new mobile app. Your agreement with this programmer or engineer specifically states that anything she creates for your business is a "work made for hire". Your business is good, right? No way that the new hire can ever lay claim to the deliverables, correct? In my Phoenix startup and technology law practice, I get this question a lot as it pertains to software and app development. Unfortunately, the term "work made for hire" (or, more colloquially, "work for hire") is a term as misunderstood by companies as it is misused. The "Work Made for Hire" Doctrine Explained Generally speaking, a work that is copyrightable is the sole property of the person who created it (and assuming the author has not transferred…
I'm often asked by start-up founders (and even more established, traditional businesses) whether it matters what they call their employees; more specifically, whether they should be paid as regular "W-2" employees or "1099" independent contractors. The Independent Contractor/Employee Misclassification Dilemma The question can be a difficult one to answer, with very real consequences for the wrong choice. State and Federal misclassification efforts have been on the rise. Making matters worse, these cases tend to be highly fact-specific and costly for a company to defend. Generally speaking, the employer ordinarily has the burden of proving that an actual independent contractor relationship exists by "clear and convincing" evidentiary standard. As a result, businesses frequently grapple with the question who is an independent contractor and who is an employee, and the need for clarity…
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