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Aymes v. Bonelli

980 F.2d 857 (1992)

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Aymes v. Bonelli

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

980 F.2d 857 (1992)

Facts

Jonathan Bonelli (defendant) was the chief executive officer of Island Recreational (Island), which sold swimming pools and pool supplies. Bonelli hired Clifford Aymes (plaintiff), a computer programmer with a graduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Engineering, to do programming work for Island. Aymes did most of his work from Island’s offices, where he had access to Island’s equipment. Aymes generally worked alone and had considerable autonomy, taking direction from Bonelli only as to what Bonelli wanted to accomplish with the projects he assigned to Aymes. Aymes worked semi-regular hours but was not always paid by the hour and sometimes presented invoices for his time to Bonelli. Island reported Aymes’s compensation to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1099, not Form W-2. Aymes did not receive health insurance or other employee benefits from Island. Bonelli and Aymes had no written agreement regarding the ownership of the programs Aymes developed. A dispute arose concerning the rights to a program that Aymes wrote while working for Island. Aymes sued Bonelli and Island for copyright infringement, and the district court dismissed the complaint, finding that the program was a work for hire as defined in the Copyright Act.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Altimari, J.)

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