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Who owns the blog: the author or the company?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. One of our account managers writes a blog geared toward our clients as a marketing tool. It’s linked to our website and shares our brand identity. All of the content goes through an approval process before posting. If he were to leave the company, could he take the blog with him?

A. It depends on whether the blog was created within the scope of his employment. If so, it is likely a “work made for hire” under the U.S. Copyright Act, and viewed as the company’s property.  

Because the blog shares the same brand identity as your website, it is easy to argue that the blog material was prepared within the scope of employment and is therefore a work made for hire.  

However, if the employee blogs outside the scope of his employment, then he might be able to retain ownership of the copyright (but not the branding).

To minimize the risk that the blog could be considered the employee’s property, think about entering into an employment or intellectual property ownership agreement that encompasses the preparation of written materials for blogs and other social media that relate to your business.

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