Who Owns Your Code?

 

“The company owns the rights to all work produced during the term of employment.”

It probably won’t be long before you find yourself looking at something similar in the corporate contract of that big company you’re looking forward to joining. What this implies is:

  1. If you end up contributing to an open source initiative in your spare time, you’re violating the contract; and you’ll end up in the same soup as Tilly.
  2. If you think up some brilliant new invention in the shower and decide to build and patent it sometime, your big company will sue you, win, and claim the invention too.

What you need to do is:

“The company owns the rights to all work produced during the term of employment code written during working hours and in direct furtherance of any tasks assigned by the company.”

If they don’t buy the change, and you really want them, charge them for it. If they’ve offered you an 8 hour work day, it’s only fair to charge them triple for claiming ownership over ideas you may conceive over the entire 24 hours.

Or you could, like many, have a genius of a grandmom donating generously to the open source community.

I know this is nine years late, but I feel this is a lesson learned hard that’s really relevant now. The original source for this is at Slashdot.

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