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Re: [DotGNU]Copyright waivers for developers?

From: John
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Copyright waivers for developers?
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 00:10:18 -0500

Rhys Weatherley wrote:
> Bill White wrote:
> > So if I only work on this separate from my employer's equipment,
> > facilities and time, you believe I am ok, and I can sign the
> > copyright waiver as myself.  I don't believe my employer has
> > jurisdiction over what I do when I am not working for them.
> Read the employment agreement that you signed prior
> to joining the company that employs you.  Most employers
> have an agreement that goes something like this:
>      Any work done by the employee, even if not on
>      company premises or during business hours,
>      is owned by the employer.
> This is usually to stop an employee from using their
> knowledge to compete with the company in their spare
> time.  The real effect is that anything you come up with
> belongs to the company first and foremost.
> Things get annoying when you come up with something in
> your spare time that doesn't overlap, but your employer
> would like to be doing it.  e.g. turning their word processor
> into a Web service.  At that point, you lose the rights to
> your own work because the employment agreement
> says that the employer owns it.

That's not the only reason. Sometimes the reason is political, or simply
to deny the author an alternate career. This was illustrated by the
mishap of a friend of mine: engineer by day, fiction author by night. He
wrote a work of fiction, a romance novel, and became locally famous for
it. Another employee with an axe to grind called up legal, and my friend
was not given a choice. It was right there in his contract - the
software company owned the royalties to his romance novel, and he was
paid a $500 bonus for a year's work, and that's all.

Following his lesson there are three riders I request added to any
contract I sign. The language is more legalistic than this, but these
are the basics:

1) Anything, related or unrelated to the company's primary or ancillary
business, that I produce outside of work is mine: 100%.
2) I cannot be fired, demoted, or otherwise troubled, under penalty of
harrassment, if I am called as a witness in any legal action against the
3) I cross of any assignment of patent or copyright.

If the employer doesn't like it. they can kiss my patootie. Even in this
environment, I've not had problems finding work.

BTW, if only the unemployed programmers work with us, that still leaves
a fairly large labour pool. LOL

John Le'Brecage

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