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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ownership of software invention

From: David Hirst
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ownership of software invention
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:46:07 -0000

In the UK patent law assigns inventions to the employee unless explicitly 
claimed by the employer. It was conventional to let employees keep these rights 
unless they were actively employed as a researcher inventor. I think this is 
true too of copyright, which belongs to the individual unless that right has 
been sacrificed by T&Cs of employment.
Most employers, and most particularly corporate employers, now tend to claim 
any inventions and copyright in their terms and conditions. It is copyright you 
need to worry about here, unless your code embodies and invention, in which 
case speak to an patent agent or lawyer.
However, if you are employed as a mathematician, and write poetry in your own 
time, I think most employers in the UK would be unwilling to take copyright 
ownership to court, where they might well lose. After all, you sell your 
services, not your soul.

David Hirst
Mobile:  +44 7831 405443

-----Original Message-----
From: libreplanet-discuss 
[] On 
Behalf Of amunizp
Sent: 13 January 2017 23:31
To:; Greg Farough
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ownership of software invention

>I'm writing with a somewhat specific question. I'm a non-developing 
>employee of a Missouri software company. In my spare time, I do 
>develop, though, and am about to release a program of substantial size 
>as free software. I'm concerned about my employer's finding out about 
>this and using it to gain "ownership" over the program, seeing as how I 
>wrote it while under their employ. Is there anything I can do to retain 
>my copyright so that I can release it as free software, or does my 
>employer have legal claim over my program?

You need help from software freedom conservancy.  The lawyers. I just listened 
to their podcast: 'free as in freedom' refering to the contract you sign on 
joining mentioned in other responses.

Free as in Freedom: 0x5E: Conservancy's ContractPatch Initiative

There are links there to the  audio oggcast and to the blog posts which might 
be worth a read.

It might be worth joining their mailing list as well.

Good luck.

-- --
Andres (he/him/his)
Ham United Group
Richmond Makerlabs

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