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Aymes v. Bonelli, 980 F.2d 857 (1992) p.290


copyrightable material - work for hire (computer programs)


D hired P to create computer programs. Aymes was hired to create computer programs, Bonnelli fired Aymes. Aymes sued to get use of the computer programs. Computer programmer brought action for copyright infringement against corporation that operated chain of retail stores selling swimming pools and related supplies.


The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, John S. Martin, Jr., J., dismissed complaint, and programmer appealed.


Whether the creation of the computer programs was a work for hire.


When deciding whether it is a work for hire under the factors, that is a question of law.


The Court of Appeals, Altimari, Circuit Judge, held that program created by the programmer was not a work for hire under the Copyright Act, entitling programmer to ownership of the copyright as author of the program. Reversed and remanded.


Five factors which are relevant in all situations:
- the hiring party's right to control the manner and means of creation
- the skill required
- the provision of employee benefits
- the tax treatment of the hired party
- whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party
These individual factors are questions of FACT. Applying the facotrs to determine whether or not it is a work for hire is a question of LAW.


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