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Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire

by Maclir (Curate)
on Mar 20, 2002 at 19:33 UTC ( #153099=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Professional Employees and Works for Hire

This is just another example of how employment laws in the US are skewed incredibly towards the employer - add to that the deceptively named "right to work" laws. Having come from a country that for 100 years or more has a much greater tradition for protecting the rights and conditions of workers, I am sometimes appalled at what I see here. (remember, not all the right wing propaganda condemming trade unions is true)

One method that would be well worth looking into is to work as in independant contractor - set up your own company, and have that company employ you. Your company then contracts you to the client, and there are quite specific terms and conditions on IP, copyright and the rest.

The other approach is, at offer of employment time, ask for and review a copy of the company's IP agreement, employment contract and so on - all the things that you are being told to sign - and strike out those clauses that infringe on your non-working hours activities.


Comment on Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire
Re: Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire
by tmiklas (Hermit) on Mar 20, 2002 at 20:40 UTC
    Well... it's sad but it's true... That's what we call capitalism ;-)
    I come from Poland (Europe) and here we have the same (and as a matter of fact - i'm not a lawyer). As ussually everything is in a contract you sign (everything what is not forbiden is acceptable :->), but i've never had heard about anybody here in situation like this.

    I have a comfortable situation - i work for a company as a 'hourly' employee. During that time i work for the company - meeting clients, programming for them (clients), etc. The whole thing is that my company allows me to work for clients (i've met during my hourly employement) when i finish my work and go home... and then the company has nothing to do with that - it was my free time. My contract says nothing about that kind of work.
    Nearly the same thing is with the code - i can write anything i want and release that code as long as it's not a part of the code i create for a company, and in my case it's a matter of trust and company culture rather than any paper i signed.

    Situation in Poland:
    Following the intellectual property law, everything you code (create) while working for your employer belongs to him, becouse you are implementing his project or doing what the contract says.
    On the other hand, you are the author of the code and still have some rights...

    BTW. Sorry for my english :)
Re: Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 21, 2002 at 04:12 UTC
    Right to work laws aren't deceptively named. As a Texan, I have the right to work without being forced to join a union. I don't want to join a union; the union's chief gripe when they organized it was THAT WE WERE NOT CONTRACT EMPLOYEES AND THEY WANTED US TO BE UNDER CONTRACT. If I'd gotten into that mess, I'd be in the same boat as Tilly. As it is, I am not under contract, which is what I've always wanted, and now what I really want. Unions are not magic pixie dust that always make things better, and I am thankful that I do not have to pay dues to such an organization.
Re: Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 21, 2002 at 06:29 UTC
    This is just another example of how employment laws in the US are skewed incredibly towards the employer

    Er, the laws vary and can be changed by contract. More over in many states it is likely that if you can do a reasonably good job of showing that you worked on code on your own time using your own resources and your employment contract doesn't explicitly claim non-work activities it is yours.

    I don't see any problem with laws that say "if the employee agrees anything they own belongs to the company". It is quite unfair if that happens when you don't agree. I think for the most part companies try for "all your work belong to us" so if you really do something on their time and claim you did it on your time it won't matter because they will still own it. As others have said you can frequently alter the contract before you sign (well you can always alter it, they frequently accept the changes).

Re: Re: Professional Employees and Works for Hire
by csh (Novice) on Jan 27, 2004 at 04:16 UTC

    Keep in mind that unions are different in Europe than they are in the USA.

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