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There is, considering the circumstances, only one choice for me to make which is not abysmally moronic. Do not expect to hear much from me in the future.
Incidentally, this is my last post to PerlMonks for a long, long time...
Um, should the occasion ever arise and your PHB's1 even wonder what your friends think of all of this--and allow you to offer said opinions in a way that won't get you fired--tell them this:
OMIGOD! YOU KILLED TILLY. YOU DIRTY BASTARDS!2 (and no, I won't massage it this time. I'm pissed; it's just stupid.)
<Update time="after some sleep"> - Why am I pushing back on this? Because it's plain wrong. It may be legal, but it's not just.
Following growlf's lead, here's my free advice to the people in question: Look at it from the employee's perspective. If you do not allow an employee to grow, create, and innovate beyond the projects you assign, then how do you expect that person to take you beyond your current level? If you do not allow someone the ability to learn new ideas or to create new ways of solving problems (and take credit for that), then how do you expect to be able to attract new talent in the future? You may gain a software patent today, but I believe you've completely shot yourselves in the foot with regard to future solutions. Do you think tilly has any motivation to innovate for you now? I seriously doubt it. All you've done is ensure that he does not cross "the line." You've made a faithful servant and lost a creative genius. You may gain a temporary edge, but at a serious cost.
And before you dismiss me because I called you names3 and apparently don't understand "business," please consider this little trick of salesmanship that I learned a *long* time ago: "the wise salesman knows when to leave some money on the table." Consider why so many people are ticked at MS.
Normally, I don't push back; I adapt. I adjust. I find a compromise that serves everyone's purposes, for my interest is in getting the job done and in serving the company's needs while also serving the employee's. While I know no specifics, I believe I know tilly well enough to say that he enjoys helping others learn. This is one of his best attributes; he's good at it.
And, in case you're wondering, yes. I have signed such agreements. I've also crossed out sections in them that claim full ownership, because the rule of copyright is "you can copyright the expression, but not the idea."
I strongly enourage you to reconsider, espcially in light of recent legal opinions along similar lines .</Update>
The rest of this is for tilly:
(Between you, me, and the fencepost, I'm glad you're not hiring right now. This sort of b/s is the sort of thing that really burns my starch. I would probably quit over it.)
You have, as always, my full support. Please, start looking for an agency that will allow you the luxury of a real life and an identity beyond their grubby little paws.
Damn. Learning Perl and learning to do it well just got a lot harder--with all due respect to those who need it. Except the PHB's you work for. They can get an effing life.
P.S. And, yes, I'm swearing outright because I'm so ticked about this. I suppose it's just as well I *don't* know who you work for. I'd organize a boycott and send nasty-grams to the editor of the local paper, the Times, the Post, and anyone willing to post the ravings of an erudite lunatic...hang on. The Washington Post did that already. Um...well...geez...you know what I mean.