When talking to a former student, perhaps the most frequent observation is that they regularly use agency law in their practices. For example, consider the opinion in Conwell v. Gary Loon Outdoor Marketing Group, Inc., No. 82S04-0806-CV-00309 (Ind. May 19, 2009). Conwellinvolved the ownership of a website designed (and hosted) by Gray Loon for Piece of America (LP) (PoA). When PoA didn't pay Gray Loon, it took the website off its server, and refused to give the website files to PoA. Later the files were destroyed. PoA sued, claiming that Gray Loon had converted its property.
At this point, you may be wondering how agency law applies. Under copyright law, the owner of the copyright in a work is the author of the work, unless the work was a "work for hire." Apparently, in deciding whether there was a work for hire, it makes a difference whether the work was done by an employee or by an independent contractor. If the former, it is presumed to be work for hire, unless otherwise agreed. If the latter, it is presumed not to be a work for hire, unless agreed in writing. Slip Op., at 12-15.
The only other interesting aspect of the case is the way the Court analyzed the status of Gray Loon. The Court quoted the standard used by the U.S. Supreme Court, and then concluded:
Considering these factors, it seems plain enough that Gray Loon was an independent contractor rather than POA's employee. The website was thus not a "work made for hire."
Slip Op., at 15. That's it. Nothing about how the facts fit into the factors. A great example of how not to write an opinion, or an essay on an exam.
Speaking of exams, back to grading.
Hat tip to Ben Barros, PropertyProf blog.
posted by Gary Rosin