Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid
490 U.S. 730 (1989)
CCNV wanted a sculpture to
illustrate the plight of the homeless. They contracted with a sculptor
named Reid to make the sculpture. CCNV paid for the materials, but Reid
donated his time.
CCNV provided input on what
the sculpture was to entail, but Reid retained significant creative
Eventually the sculpture was
finished and CCNV paid $15k. However, when they announced plans to take
the sculpture on a multi-city tour, Reid refused to give up possession of
it, and filed a certificate of copyright registration.
Reid argued that he was a co-author of the sculpture.
CCNV argued that they paid
for the sculpture and were the ones who directed its creation. Therefore
Reid's contribution did not make him a co-author since it was just work for hire.
The Trial Court found for
Reid. CCNV appealed.
The Trial Court found that
the sculpture was a work for hire
under 17 U.S.C. §101(1) because CCNV was the motivating
force behind the sculpture's production.
The Appellate Court reversed.
The Appellate Court found
that Reid was not an employee of CCNV, but instead was an independent
contractor. Therefore it did not meet the definition of a work for
hire under §101(1)
(works prepared by an employee).
Note that Reid could not
have been covered by §101(2) (works
prepared by an independent contractor), because under that clause the
parties must "expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them
that the work shall be considered a work made for hire."
The US Supreme Court affirmed.
The US Supreme Court looked
to bunch of different theories courts had used to determine if something
was a work for hire under §101(1)
and decided that most of them were not useful. The Court decided that
they would fall back on the common-law doctrine of 'agency' to determine
if Reid was acting as an agent of CCNV when he made the sculpture.
The Court found that there
were a number of factors in determining whether a hired party is an
employee under the general common-law of agency, including:
Right to control work being
performed, skill required, source of instrumentalities and tools,
location of work, duration of relationship, right to assign additional
projects, hired party's discretion, method of payment, role in hiring
and paying assistants, regular course of employer's business, payment of
employee's benefits and taxes.
See Restatement (Second)
of Agency §228.
The Court weighed all the
factors, and decided that Reid was an independent contractor, not an
employee. Therefore the sculpture was not a work for hire under §101.
The Court found that the
sculpture might be a joint work
since CCNV did contribute to its design.