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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Community For Creative Non-Violence
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the Register of Copyrights as amicus curiae urging affirmance)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Facts of the Case 

The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) made an oral agreement with James Reid, a sculptor, to produce a statue depicting the plight of the homeless for display at a 1985 Washington D.C. Christmas pageant. Upon completion, delivery, and joining of the work to a base that it prepared separately, CCNV paid Reid the final installment of the agreed-upon price. Shortly thereafter, the parties filed competing copyright claims over the sculpture. Holding, in accordance with the Copyright Act of 1976 (the "Act"), that the statue was a "work made for hire," a district court ruled in favor of CCNV. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and the Supreme Court granted CCNV certiorari.


Is the making of a sculpture for an organization, by someone who contracts with the organization but is not its employee, a "work made for hire" as defined by the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. Section 101?

Decision: 9 votes for Reid, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 17 U.S.C. 101

No. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that the statue's preparation was not a "work for hire" as defined by the Act because Reid was not a CCNV employee. Instead, CCNV hired Reid as an independent contractor. Reid's independent status was evident because he supplied his own tools, worked in his own studio in another city, was retained for less than two months, decided his own work schedule, received salary that was contingent on the sculpture's completion, and had sole discretion over hiring and paying assistants. Moreover, CCNV did not pay social security taxes for Reid nor did it provide him any employee benefits.

Cite this Page
COMMUNITY FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE v. REID. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 28 August 2015. <>.
COMMUNITY FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE v. REID, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 28, 2015).
"COMMUNITY FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE v. REID," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 28, 2015,