Where to find a template for a general-purpose Independent Contractor Agreement?


We want to hire some freelancers in the US, Germany, Russia and Japan.
The book "The Business of iPhone App Development" from Apress references an Imdependent Contractor Agreement template. The goal is to make sure our company receives the IP rights in the work we paid for.

This template, however, is focused on one particular task done by the contractor, describing this task and the amount of money to be paid for that task. A contractor (developer) complained and said it would be much more efficient if we'd sent him a general purpose agreement which covers all future work to be done by the contractor. So we wouldn't have to create and receive a signed contract for each and every single task. He said the big companies do it like this.

Something in the form of: "Company XY receives the IP rights in all future work created by Contractor Z for company XY, without the need to make additional contracts for each piece of work."

Can someone point me into the right direction what the correct term for this type of contractor agreement is, and where to find templates for this?

Legal Independent Contractor Intellectual Property Contractor

asked Oct 2 '11 at 20:03
111 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans

4 Answers


In the U.S. the correct term for this is Work For Hire.

A work made for hire is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally recognized author of that work. According to copyright law in the United States and certain other copyright jurisdictions, if a work is "made for hire", the employer—not the employee—is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship.

If you do a Google search for "work for hire template", "work for hire agreement", and/or "work for hire contract" you'll find lots of samples to choose from. Here are a few Work for Hire templates:

Work For Hire Agreement 1 Work For Hire Agreement 2 Work For Hire Agreement 3

answered Oct 3 '11 at 01:53
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • While the answer is generally helpful, I have a couple of concerns: (1) The term "Work for Hire" is so misunderstood that, in using that term, a naive searcher can be misled easily. Please see "Why 'Work Made for Hire' is a Term Made for Confusion" at http://dana.sh/dLSMCd. (2) The first linked-to agreement (I did not look at the rest) has a serious error in Section 5.1 - a future, rather than present, assignment of rights. Please see "Copyright: Why You Need Presence of Mind about Present Assignments" at http://dana.sh/cVEm9r. – Dana Shultz 13 years ago
  • I'm not endorsing any of the templates I linked to, IANAL. I simply did a Google search and posted the first few I found. But this brings up a good point, people should never rely on templates from the internet for anything really important. They should consult a competent lawyer in their industry, such as yourself. Thanks for pointing out the flaw in that template. – Zuly Gonzalez 12 years ago


You are going to be looking for what is typically called a Consulting Agreement or Independent Contractor Agreement. The important thing to recognize is this person you are hiring is NOT AN EMPLOYEE. It is important to have in your agreement that the individual understands that they are not an employee of the company.

After a lot of Googling (there is a tone of junk out there) I found the following template to begin with when using an IC. At a minimum, have this reviewed by an attorney to make sure it is 100% tailored to your situation.

  1. Independent Contractor Agreement
While I am an attorney, I have no affiliation with the law firm that publishes this template. There are also a number of other considerations when hiring an independent contractor. I found a decent independent contractor guide on the Founders Network blog (no affiliation) which showed up on the first page of Google and on HackerNews at some point.
answered May 11 '12 at 01:35
21 points


All the suggestions are good contractor agreements, but many don't address the your core issue - IP assignment.

Consider looking at the founders workbench document driver - they have added a Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement that can be used by both staff and freelancers. Here's a writeup on the feature.

This doesn't replace the new for a per-project agreement: written SOW and agreements per project is a good thing, but a blanket Confidentiality / IP assignment should be in place prior to work start.

answered Jan 6 '13 at 06:01
Jim Galley
9,952 points


I've done Master Services Agreements (MSA) with and for people before. It basically says "here's how we work together" which then adds individual Statements of Work (SoW) for the specific tasks/projects that are done.

When I started contracting, I used basic contracts from http://www.nolo.com/products/ Their templates basically said "A or B" for each of the main sections. Once I had some cash rolling, I took the templates to a local attorney who did some fine-tuning for the jurisdiction and my particular type of work.

Their agreements had copyright/ownership terms baked in.

answered Jan 6 '13 at 06:10
Casey Software
1,638 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Legal Independent Contractor Intellectual Property Contractor