Bacon ipsum dolor amet buffaIf you hire a freelancer to write code, draft copy, do graphic design or produce anything else covered by copyright, and you want to own that copyright, then the answer is yes. Section 35 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) dictates the author is typically the owner of the works. However, there are exceptions. If you want to own the works of your freelancer, the copyright must be assigned to you. Section 196 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) requires that to be done in writing and signed by or on behalf of the owner.
From our experience servicing a significant number of tech startups, and other small to medium enterprises, the two standout problems are:
1. Absent or poorly drafted written contracts. When companies don’t ensure they reduce the terms and conditions / obligations of the parties to writing, the probability of disputes increases. Though having a contract alone is not sufficient, it should be a well drafted and comprehensive document. Good fences make good neighbours.
2. Poor corporate governance and incomplete registers. Not only are you required to comply with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) in order to avoid penalties, but when it comes to selling the business if you have not maintained proper registers you may not satisfy the purchasers due diligence. Which likely means no sale or a reduced price.
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