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Contractors in schools

This section helps identify issues that schools need to be aware of surrounding copyright ownership of contractors' work and the rights of schools and of teachers.

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Who owns contractors' work?

The rule of first ownership of employee works does not apply to works created by contractors. Contractors own copyright in any works that they create in the course of their contract, unless it is a commissioned work and is created in the course of the commission.

What if a school commissioned the work?

Where a school commissions a contractor to create a copyright work, the school will own copyright in the commissioned work, unless agreed otherwise. However, different commissioning "rules" apply to different types of work (for example, a commissioned photograph is owned by the person who commissioned it, whereas a commissioned literary work is owned by the person who wrote it).

Put it in writing

For this reason, it is very important to agree in writing in advance with all contractors as to who should own the work. Use of a Creative Commons licence may be appropriate.

What rights do contractors and schools have?

Contractors working in schools (such as itinerant music teachers) could inadvertently infringe copyright and expose the school to liability for copyright infringement. It is important to make contractors aware of the school's copyright policy and to supervise their activities in order to manage this risk.

Attention should be drawn to information about the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 located on the NetSafe website.

Contract option

View a sample contractor's clause/agreement.