This comment argues that the best way to clarify the answer to the question "Who's the author?" (and thus to clarify whether the creator has a termination right) is to resolve the circuit split in favor of a bright-line rule requiring execution of the written agreement prior to the creation of the work. Part I introduces the legal framework under which the issue must be analyzed. Part II reviews the holdings on each side of the circuit split. Part III presents the arguments that both proper statutory construction of U.S. copyright law and the legislative history of the termination right, which is closely related to the work made for hire provision, support the contention that the statute should be read to impose the bright-line rule. Part IV concludes.
Richard D. Palmieri, Who's the Author? A Bright-Line Rule for Specially Commissioned Works Made for Hire, 46 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1175 (2012).