Work for Hire Contract

A work for hire contract serves a couple of very important purposes!

Not only does it describe the scope of the commissioned work and the terms and conditions i.e. deadline, payment terms etc., it also clearly establishes the relationship between the parties as that of independent contractor and client.

creative work agreement

Most importantly perhaps, it serves as written agreement between the parties as to who owns the copyright in the work.

The work for hire agreement further down on this page caters for commissioned work by freelancers/independent contractors.

This type of agreement is best executed before work commences.


In an employment situation you could make use of our Invention and Copyright Assignment for Employees.

Work done within the course or scope of employment is generally considered work for hire.

For example:

  • A meteorologist designs a program that can analyze lots of data and so predict weather forecasts more accurately. This will fall within the course or scope of his work as a forecaster.
  • Conversely, the same person develops software to automate social media posts. This falls outside the course or scope of his employment and he owns the right in the work.

It is important to review our additional information and guidelines regarding
works made for hire and moral rights before using our templates.

Copyright Notice

Work for Hire Agreement

The parties to this agreement are:

(Hereinafter referred to as the "Company")


(Hereinafter referred to as the "Contractor")

Whereas the Company commissions the Contractor to do or provide the following work or services:

(Hereinafter referred to as the "Work")

1. Payment

The Contractor undertakes to deliver the completed Work to the satisfaction of the Company by the ____ day of ______________ 20___. The Company shall pay the amount of $___ (__________________dollars) upon receipt of the completed Work as total compensation for the work and all rights in the Work.

2. Rights and Ownership

a) The parties agree that the commissioned Work done by the Contractor pursuant to this Agreement shall be deemed "work for hire" under Copyright laws of _______________ and the Company shall own the Work and shall be the full and exclusive owner of all rights and title in and to the proceeds of the services commissioned herein at all stages of development, including any ideas, discoveries, inventions or products developed.

b) If for any reason the Work or part thereof is not deemed a work for hire, then the Contractor hereby irrevocably transfers and assigns to the Company in perpetuity, all rights, title and interest therein including all copyrights and any other applicable intellectual property rights.

c) The Contractor shall not do anything or cause anything to be done to limit or infringe the Company's rights under this Agreement and undertakes to execute any document required by the Company to secure the Company's rights in the Work.

d) The Contractor waives all moral rights in the Work and the Company may make any changes or additions to the Work at their sole and absolute discretion, is under no obligation to use the Work or to credit the Contractor with authorship in the Work or part thereof.

3. Relationship of Parties

It is understood and agreed by both parties that this Agreement does not create or establish an employment relationship. The Contractor shall operate as a self-employed independent contractor and shall assume all risks, expenses, insurance coverage incurred in providing work or services under this Agreement. The Contractor shall not be entitled to any rights or benefits provided to the Company's employees. The Contractor may provide similar services to a third party, subject to the Confidentiality clause in this Agreement.

The parties agree to provide relevant documentation required for financial reports and taxes.

4. Confidentiality

The Work and all related material and information and any proprietary information or trade secrets or any business information exchanged between the Company and the Contractor shall be held in strict confidence and may not be disclosed by the Contractor directly or indirectly to a third party unless authorised to do so by the Company in writing. This provision shall continue to be effective after completion of the services or Work.

5. Contractor's Representations and Warranties

Contractor hereby represents and warrants to the Company that the Work shall be original and where applicable, the Contractor has the rights or licences or other permissions required to execute the Work and it shall not infringe upon the copyright or intellectual property rights or personal or privacy rights of any other person or entity.

6. Indemnification

The Contractor hereby agrees to indemnify the Company from any damages, claims or costs, including attorney's fees arising out of breach of the representations and warranties set out in 5. above.

7. General Provisions

a) This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties, replacing any prior agreements between them and any amendment hereto shall be effective only if made in writing and signed by both parties.

b) This Agreement shall be binding upon the parties and accrue to the benefit of their heirs, successors, legal representatives and assigns.

c) This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of ________________. If any part of the Agreement is judged by an appropriate court of law as invalid or unenforceable, it shall be modified to the extent permissible in law and in any event shall not affect the validity of any of the remaining provisions.

By signing below the parties warrant having the legal authority to enter into this Agreement.

Company Address: __________________________________________________

Company Representative: _________________________ Title: ________________

Signature: _________________________ Date: _______________

Contractor's Address: __________________________________________________

Social Security / Identity Number; _________________________

Signature: _________________________ Date: _______________


Important Notes About Our Work for Hire Contract:

artist brush strokes

  • We've included a Waiver of Moral Rights in our work for hire contract template (see 2d) and stated that the Company has sole discretion about attribution or credit to the author.

    However, Independent Contractors who wish to remain anonymous need to be aware that a waiver of moral rights is also a waiver of the right to anonymity.

    It doesn't have to be an all or nothing though - moral rights may be waived in whole or in part.
  • If your country does not make use of the term "work-for-hire" in copyright law (e.g. Canada) you can replace it with the term "commissioned work" and title the document "Independent Contractor Agreement" or "Graphic Design Agreement" etc.
  • In our sample work for hire contract we use the word "Company" to denote the client. You can replace that with a person's Name, Creative Firm etc. Similarly, where we used "Contractor" you could use Artist, Freelancer, Service Provider etc.

Advantages of a Work for Hire Agreement

It is advantageous to the company to have in writing that the independent contractor warrants the originality of the work and that there is no infringement on the copyright of another author.

For example, if a designer is commissioned to create a promotional calendar for the company, the warranty would cover that:

  • Photographs used in the work are obtained and duly licensed for commercial use;
  • It is not an infringing derivative work in that it is not a reproduction of the whole or essential elements of an existing copyright work.

For the independent contractor it is advantageous having an agreement in place since it can provide peace of mind to the employer knowing that they have paid for and now own and have exclusive right to the work.

In addition, our work for hire agreement also specifically describes the work and specifies the relationship (i.e. not that of an employer/employee), payment terms, warranties etc.

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