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Authors as Copyright Owners

Learn that authors are by default the owners of a copyright, joint authors, and works made for hire.


In general, the Copyright Act vests ownership initially in an author, the person who actually created the work. The word author here refers to the creator of any kind of work, not just a written work. The author of an original work owns a copyright as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

Owning the copyright is different from owning a material object containing the work. For example, a letter writer owns a copyright in her original writing once she fixes the words to a...