In writing and other artistic fields, “freelance” and its derivative terms are often reserved for workers who create works on their own initiative and then seek a publisher. They typically retain the copyright to their works and sell the rights to publishers in time-limited contracts. Traditionally, works would be submitted to publishers, where they would become part of the slushpile, and would either elicit an offer to buy (an “acceptance letter”) or a rejection slip.
People who create intellectual property under a work for hire situation (according to the publishers’ or other customers’ specifications) are sometimes referred to as “independent contractors” or other similar terms. Creators give up their rights to their works in a “works made for hire” situation, a category of intellectual property defined in U.S. copyright law — Section 101, Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USC §101). The protection of the intellectual property rights that give the creator of the work are considered to have been sold into a work for hire agreement. of employees, however in a contractual rather than employment relationship.