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Works Made for Hire Copyright law protects a work from the time it is created in a fixed form. From the moment it is set in a print or electronic manuscript, a sound recording, a computer software program, or other such concrete medium, the copyright becomes the property of the author who created it. 

Only the author or those deriving rights from the author can rightfully claim copyright. There is, however, an exception to this principle: “works made for hire.” If a work is made for hire, an employer is considered the author even if an employee actually created the work. The employer can be a firm, an organization, or an individual. 

A “work made for hire” can also be a work specially ordered or commissioned for use (i.e. hiring a website designer or graphic designer to create a design or content), if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.

So when hiring your website designer, photographer, graphic designer, etc., obtain a signed writing that the product  being created is considered a “work for hire” and that the vendor assigns all rights to the work to you.  This way, you will be the sole owner of the work/product and not the vendor. If you don’t agree that the product constitutes a work for hire, then you merely have a limited license to use the product.