The basic rule for ownership of a copyright work is that the author of the copyright work i.e. the person who actually creates the work, is the author. However, if the author of a work is an employee who makes the work as part of his or her employment, then the copyright normally would belong to the employer. Also, if the work was created as part of a commission by another person, then that other person may own the copyright. Note, however, that in New Zealand the commissioning rule only applies to certain types of works, including computer programmes, photographs, paintings, drawings (of any sort), sculptures, films or sound recordings.

It is important to sort out ownership details of a copyright work, particularly when you are commissioning a work, considering taking infringement action, assigning, or licensing use of a work.

It is advisable to take advice from a Patent Attorney to clarify ownership of a copyright work if there is any possible room for doubt.

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