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This article focuses on the marketplace for copyrighted works produced by academics. Academics are hired by universities with the understanding that in addition to teaching, they will conduct research, analyze their research, and publish the results of their analysis. The custom has been at many universities that academics retain the copyright in their scholarly publications and in their lectures when they are reduced to tangible form. This article examines Community for Creative Non-Violence v. James Earl Reid's construction of the "work made for hire" definition in the 1976 Copyright Act and assesses its potential impact on academics. Part I provides an overview of the "work made for hire" doctrine, from its judicial inception to its codification in the 1976 Act and the subsequent controversial court interpretations of the doctrine under that Act. Part II provides a discussion of the thirteen factors that comprise the Reid framework for determining when a hired party is an employee or an independent contractor, and applies these factors to the academic context. Part III assumes that the academic is an employee and then provides an analysis of the extent to which the university can claim the copyright to the creative products of the academic that are fixed in tangible form as arising out of the scope of employment.

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Journal of Marshall Law Review





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