Is my employer violating my copyrighted material?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my employer violating my copyrighted material?

I’m a salaried catering manager for a national corporate food service company. Roughly a month ago I submitted via email to my direct supervisor some pictures of our fare that I had taken with my own camera and edited on my own computer. I received no response to said email. I assumed they were overlooked or otherwise discarded. Then, 3 days ago, I discovered all of these photos I had sent in/on an advertisement for our new catering menu. Would they not need to provide me with some form of compensation because they are using my copyrighted material? Since I’m a salaried employee of the company, would my argument against them using my work be null and void?

Asked on December 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you sent them in to be used by your employer and/or as part of your job, you are not owed any additional compensation. Any photographs you take, edit, create, modify, etc. for your employer belong to the employer: copyright in creative works made for work always belong to the employer, not the employee (just as anything done by a freelance/contractor/vendor for pay or as part of their project also belongs, as works made for hire, for the person or business paying them). 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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