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Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989) (full-text).

U.S. Supreme Court Proceedings[]

The U.S. Supreme Court held that an employment relationship determination for work made for hire purposes should be made by reference to the "general common law of agency."[1] The central question in an agency law inquiry is whether the hiring party has the "right to control the manner and means by which the product is accomplished."[2]

The factors to be considered include the skill required, the source of the instrumentalities and tools used in creating the work, where the work was created, the duration of the relationship between the parties, whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party, the method of payment, the extent of the hired party's discretion over when and how long to work, the hired party's role in hiring and paying assistants, whether the hiring party is in business and whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party, the provision of employee benefits, and the tax treatment of the hired party.[3] The Court did not specify any factors that should be weighed more heavily than others, but made clear that an "employee" under the Copyright Act is not limited to a formal, salaried employee.


  1. 490 U.S. at 740-41.
  2. Id. at 751.
  3. Id. at 751-52.