copyright of work task

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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Alan C
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copyright of work task

Post by Alan C » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:05 pm

Hi there ... at my job, work is 'allocated' by the hour to make up my workload spread over the year. For example job A might take 4 hours per week for 10 weeks and so 40 hours are added to my annual workload. Other tasks bring my agreed workload up to the required 1566 hours per year.

However, recently, my employer asked me to write a document on an issue related to my work, but not included on my workload. This task took me 20 hours, and my employer is refusing to add those hours to my annual workloading.

Ignoring any HR issues; it is my contention that as I was given no hours on my workload, essentially I was not paid for producing the document.

Therefore the report was not " ... made by an employee in the course of his employment" and so my employer is NOT the first owner of any copyright in the work.

Have I got a case for the copyright of the document being with me as [effectively] I wrote it in my own time and not time for which I was paid by my employers?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:13 pm

Hi Alan,
Unfortunately I don't think you have a case here. Employment and the duties which form part of it are the main criteria for deciding whether sectionn 11(2) applies. Being paid or not is not really part of the equation, although as you indicate, it may be grounds for breach of your contract of employment if you aren't paid for the work. The fact that your employer asked you to do this would indicate that this work formed part of your duties, and in that case it won't matter if you wrote this document at home or at work.
The sort of activities which might mean you retained copyright would be, for instance, if you did something completely outside your job spec on a voluntary basis, or you used your knowledge and skills gained at work for a private venture (say, giving a lecture to an outside institution or seminar), or if you were self-employed and had been commissioned to do the work and there was no term in the commissioning agreement which assigned the copyright to the company. However the last one can also fail in the case of an agency worker hired on a relatively long contract, such that they are effectively integrated into the full-time workforce (eg is rostered for holidays along other members of the team etc), since they will tend to be treated as 'employed' for the purposes of s 11(2).
Last edited by AndyJ on Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Alan C
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Post by Alan C » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:56 pm

cheers Andy - thought this would be the case.

I was clutching at the straw that if I wasn't paid to do a job, I wasn't 'employed' when doing it

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