When is something a work for hire? (weekly widget)

A work is “made for hire,” so that the employer owns the copyright from the beginning, if the work was created “by an employee within the scope of his or her employment” or if a work by an independent contractor is subject to an express agreement that it will be work for hire and it falls into one of nine broad categories listed in the Copyright Act. Many works created by college and university faculty would seem to be works for hire under the first prong of this definition, but there is a long judicial tradition of excluding these works from the category. Many universities have adopted policies to address when a faculty work is or is not a work made for hire.