Using hobby source code in your job ?

Discussion in 'Java' started by Skybuck Flying, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Ok,

    Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.

    Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    your hobby programming language.

    The question rises:

    1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?

    This could create problems ?!?

    2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to your
    hobby source code.

    So what would you do ?

    I myself see a number of possiblities:

    1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.

    2. Don't even use your hobby source code.

    3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    source, they probably won't like that.

    4. Give the company a license to use your source code.

    5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.

    6. Make your source code freeware.

    Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    alternative ?

    In short what would you do ?

    ( I also tried to ask the Slashdot crowd this same question by submitting a
    "story" to "AskSlashdot" but it's been pending for two days and I no longer
    like to wait ;) Besides from that... most of the time there are a lot of
    funny (non-serious) or drifting threads/replies from the slashdot crowd...
    which make it hard to follow... not to mention the slashdot interface <- not
    being able to follow a thread well... so maybe it's for the best to ask it
    in newsgroup(s) anyway... <- a bit more serious replies and usually some
    drifting too :) and more easy to follows threads ;) at least for me ;) )

    ( I know it's not a question directly related to delphi, c,c++, java, pascal
    or whatever language but I would still like to know what you experienced
    programmers think about this ;) )

    ( Languages mentioned in newsgroup order ;) )

    Bye,
    Skybuck.
     
    Skybuck Flying, Dec 3, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Skybuck Flying" <> wrote in message
    news:coqf3l$4ao$1.ov.home.nl...

    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?
    >
    > This could create problems ?!?


    Sure could. It could even if you don't use it. Many employers will insist
    on rights to *any* work you do that is even vaguely related to the scope of
    your employment, even if they did not specifically request it.

    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.


    I can't see why the language would matter.

    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.


    That might help, or it might not.

    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.


    If you're not willing to ask, you must be assuming that you won't like the
    answer.

    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >
    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >
    > 6. Make your source code freeware.
    >
    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > alternative ?


    Explain the situation to your prospective employer and ask for a written
    agreement that you find mutually acceptable. If you can't reach an
    agreement, either stop programming as a hobby or work elsewhere.
     
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 3, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Skybuck Flying

    Jim P Guest

    Skybuck Flying wrote:
    > Ok,
    >
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    > your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?
    >
    > This could create problems ?!?
    >
    > 2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to your
    > hobby source code.
    >
    > So what would you do ?
    >
    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.
    >
    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.
    >
    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.
    >
    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >
    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >
    > 6. Make your source code freeware.
    >
    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > alternative ?
    >
    > In short what would you do ?
    >
    > ( I also tried to ask the Slashdot crowd this same question by submitting a
    > "story" to "AskSlashdot" but it's been pending for two days and I no longer
    > like to wait ;) Besides from that... most of the time there are a lot of
    > funny (non-serious) or drifting threads/replies from the slashdot crowd...
    > which make it hard to follow... not to mention the slashdot interface <- not
    > being able to follow a thread well... so maybe it's for the best to ask it
    > in newsgroup(s) anyway... <- a bit more serious replies and usually some
    > drifting too :) and more easy to follows threads ;) at least for me ;) )
    >
    > ( I know it's not a question directly related to delphi, c,c++, java, pascal
    > or whatever language but I would still like to know what you experienced
    > programmers think about this ;) )
    >
    > ( Languages mentioned in newsgroup order ;) )
    >
    > Bye,
    > Skybuck.
    >
    >

    Skybuck

    the answer is simple, You make all issues complex and pushed to the limits.

    Simply let your boss know what you are doing. Have him sign a document
    that this is from your prior work or hobby work. and he is gaining the
    use of this code because of your relationship with his company but to
    realize this is written on my personal time and not work related, and
    that they have access to this code because of that but they are to
    respect that it came from prior or hobby work.

    Now if this is a major amount of work that is a different story.

    But simply your learning a langauge and some small example code - - that
    does not count. and will make you look bad.

    All companies expect their programmers to have tools and tricks they
    learned from before they were hired. That is one reason you got the job
    and the other person did not.

    Jim P.
     
    Jim P, Dec 3, 2004
    #3
  4. Skybuck Flying wrote:
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.


    I hope I have. That's my job.

    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    > your hobby programming language.


    That's an interesting supposition...

    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?


    I would.

    > This could create problems ?!?


    Not really. Oh, rather, they are easily preventable.

    > 2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to your
    > hobby source code.


    You're absolutely correct. Especially when you can't spell, any legal
    matter can become unsurmountable.

    > So what would you do ?
    >
    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.


    Won't work. Often algorithms easily cross language barriers and you end
    up using your ideas in any language you happen to be employed for.

    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.


    But it's already there. Why waste time inventing anything _different_?
    Life's too short.

    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.


    They won't. They will probably want to hire somebody else. You could,
    of course, negotiate such license upfront before agreeing to be hired.

    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.


    ....beforehand.

    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.


    Requires the company to agree to use it under the GPL terms. Not every
    company would do that.

    > 6. Make your source code freeware.


    That's what US government often does. Stimulates the use and promotes
    progress. I happen to agree with this practice. Instead of limiting
    the number of people who can benefit from it, make everybody's day.

    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > alternative ?


    Yes. Publishing it anywhere does NOT mean making it gnu or free. You
    stake your rights as soon as you publish it. Of course, without any
    specific licensing terms the company won't be able to use it.

    > In short what would you do ?


    It depends. And mostly on the value of the code. And not only some kind
    of objective value, but specifically the value as _you_ see it and as your
    company sees it. If the code is outstanding, publish it as a product and
    convince your company to use it. If your company sees the ROI, they might
    even buy it from you, and then you just need to negotiate the contract
    terms. You can sell it whole, you can sell a snapshot and continue with
    its development, you can see a service contract... All of which is shady,
    especially the last one, since you have exclusive access to your client's
    insider information.

    > ( I also tried to ask the Slashdot crowd this same question by submitting a
    > "story" to "AskSlashdot" but it's been pending for two days and I no longer
    > like to wait ;) Besides from that... most of the time there are a lot of
    > funny (non-serious) or drifting threads/replies from the slashdot crowd...
    > which make it hard to follow... not to mention the slashdot interface <- not
    > being able to follow a thread well... so maybe it's for the best to ask it
    > in newsgroup(s) anyway... <- a bit more serious replies and usually some
    > drifting too :) and more easy to follows threads ;) at least for me ;) )
    >
    > ( I know it's not a question directly related to delphi, c,c++, java, pascal
    > or whatever language but I would still like to know what you experienced
    > programmers think about this ;) )


    I would continue this in comp.software-eng or in misc.legal.computing.

    V
     
    Victor Bazarov, Dec 3, 2004
    #4
  5. Skybuck Flying

    Jim P Guest

    Andrew Koenig wrote:

    > "Skybuck Flying" <> wrote in message
    > news:coqf3l$4ao$1.ov.home.nl...
    >
    >
    >>The question rises:
    >>
    >>1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?
    >>
    >>This could create problems ?!?

    >
    >
    > Sure could. It could even if you don't use it. Many employers will insist
    > on rights to *any* work you do that is even vaguely related to the scope of
    > your employment, even if they did not specifically request it.
    >
    >
    >>I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >>
    >>1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.

    >
    >
    > I can't see why the language would matter.
    >
    >
    >>2. Don't even use your hobby source code.

    >
    >
    > That might help, or it might not.
    >
    >
    >>3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    >>source, they probably won't like that.

    >
    >
    > If you're not willing to ask, you must be assuming that you won't like the
    > answer.
    >
    >
    >>4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >>
    >>5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >>
    >>6. Make your source code freeware.
    >>
    >>Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    >>alternative ?

    >
    >
    > Explain the situation to your prospective employer and ask for a written
    > agreement that you find mutually acceptable. If you can't reach an
    > agreement, either stop programming as a hobby or work elsewhere.
    >
    >

    Andrew - - better worded that I did.

    I took a major development contract with the company and I have a
    realtime monitor that I have developed and evolved over the years - for
    enbedded Microprocessor designs. (one chip designs) and would be using
    that as the foundation for the designs - -they were being really picky
    in the contract about ownerships and making sure they owned it.
    Attorneys going crazy. Attorney's making sure that no loop holes are
    present. So I decided to add a clause to the contract where they had
    execptions - - as they wanted to be sure that one the project was
    complete that no royality issues would show up that needed to be handled
    - on purchased software or anything. I wanted to be sure to keep the
    rights to this monitor and by close reading it could have been assumed
    to be owned by them.

    So - I mentioned it and put in the contract that they have complete
    rights to the realtime monitor - - with only one restriction - they can
    not sell or distribute the realtime monitor except as part of their
    product. - - -

    My attorney and I put in a whole series of standard attorney langauge -
    and their attorney simply took that and expanded it by over 50% in terms
    of the words to say, They have a world wide, license to use this
    realtime monitor as part of their product code. We had license free,
    non-revokeable, and a whole series of other comments and statements - -
    and their attorney - just had to add a few more. It would have been very
    hard to get past our statements in court. It was clear what was said.
    But their attorney - - - ugh. When we got all of the details worked out
    - and ready to sign the contract. (2 months later) Their attorney then
    - re-read the contract to be sure that it was right and came back with a
    list of 35 changes that had to be made. Some were as simply as breaking
    a sentence in two. But when he started changing the wording in clauses
    that were never changed from when the contract was presented to us. That
    is when my attorney and I both got upset. It cost me about $4000 to get
    the contract signed. I heard later that their attorney charged them
    $24000 area. That is right and they looked at the bill and make him
    reduce it by 50%. He was simply padding his bill with lots of little
    things in the contract. None that made any differnce and in effect
    causing an other go around on the contract by changing wording that was
    never changed from when he first wrote the first draft of the contract.

    But if you think that 100% of what you have done before is clearly
    yours. Forget it. If you have major software that relates to what they
    need or are doing. Make it clear up front. If it is just little things.
    Forget it.

    and Skybuck, you have a tendancy to make major issues out of little
    things. - -- oh Delphi is worthless because it does not work the way
    that you like it. But do not see all of the benefits and enhancements
    that are present and make this a great tool. A very good tool.

    I figured that giving them the rights to the code and keeping it for
    myself and any enhancements made to it and there were enhancements was
    worth getting a $400k contract. and this was only the starting point for
    each set of code. and makes a great debugging tool. Never seen anything
    like it before or since.

    Jim P.
     
    Jim P, Dec 3, 2004
    #5
  6. Skybuck Flying

    Grant Wagner Guest

    Andrew Koenig wrote:

    > "Skybuck Flying" <> wrote in message
    > news:coqf3l$4ao$1.ov.home.nl...
    >
    > > The question rises:
    > >
    > > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?
    > >
    > > This could create problems ?!?

    >
    > Sure could. It could even if you don't use it. Many employers will insist
    > on rights to *any* work you do that is even vaguely related to the scope of
    > your employment, even if they did not specifically request it.


    This is a very good point.

    Suppose you come up with an algorithm for display of "discussion" items and
    responses to those "discussion" items (newsgroup-like or blog-like behavior)
    for your company. Then you quit your job and write and distribute a freeware
    blog package. Someone on your previous development team notices you used the
    same algorithm in your freeware blog package as you used on the corporate
    project several years/months/days earlier. The company could claim ownership of
    your blog package because they own the intellectual property.

    Whether it's true that they are legally entitled to your freeware blog package
    is a moot point. They probably have deeper pockets than you and could tie you
    up in legal proceedings until you go bankrupt. Would you fight that hard for
    something you wrote in your spare time?

    > > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > > alternative ?

    >
    > Explain the situation to your prospective employer and ask for a written
    > agreement that you find mutually acceptable. If you can't reach an
    > agreement, either stop programming as a hobby or work elsewhere.


    The bottom line is that if you write code for a living, you have to deal with
    the idea that at any time, for any reason, a past, present or future employer
    (or anyone else for that matter) can claim ownership of your idea. When that
    happens (if it ever does) you'll have to determine then whether it's worth
    fighting for.

    --
    Grant Wagner <>
     
    Grant Wagner, Dec 3, 2004
    #6
  7. Skybuck Flying

    Chris Smith Guest

    Skybuck Flying <> wrote:
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    > your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:


    Yep. There are actually two issues here:

    A. Does the code you write or have written belong to you or your
    employer in the first place?

    B. Are you transferring ownership if you include the code in their
    product?

    The answer to A lies in your employment contract. Mine, for example,
    contains a clause specifying that my employer doesn't own code I write
    if all these conditions are met:

    1. It's not written during regular business hours except during vacation
    and holidays.
    2. It's not written using resources belonging to the company in a way
    that competes with the company's use of those same resources.
    3. I do not receive any compensation for writing the software.
    4. The software does not compete directly with my employer's products or
    services in their core business area.

    Of course, the actual clause in the contract is written in legalese, but
    that's the general idea. You would want something like that in your own
    contract. Which conditions are acceptable to you and your employer is a
    matter of discussion -- for example, the clause about compensation may
    not be acceptable to you, but it is acceptable to me and made the
    negotiation go much smoother with my employer.

    As for B:

    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >


    I'd recommend:

    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >


    If possible, this is ideal. That way, you don't need to negotiate any
    specific agreement with your employer. If open-source is not acceptable
    to you, then...

    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >


    This is probably the only other choice which would be acceptable to your
    employer, aside from not using it at all. You'll need a specific legal
    contract with your employer setting out terms of use. You probably need
    a lawyer to write it for you.

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
     
    Chris Smith, Dec 3, 2004
    #7
  8. On Fri, 03 Dec 2004 20:47:52 +0100, Skybuck Flying wrote:

    > Ok,
    >
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    > your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?

    Sure.
    > This could create problems ?!?

    Sure
    > 2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to your
    > hobby source code.

    No/depends on the license.
    The solution: Start thinking.
     
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Nils_O=2E_Sel=E5sdal?=, Dec 4, 2004
    #8
  9. Skybuck Flying wrote:

    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job
    > in the same language as your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job?
    >
    > This could create problems?
    >
    > 2. For example, without thinking about it
    > you might loose the rights to your hobby source code.
    >
    > So what would you do?
    >
    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.
    >
    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.
    >
    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.
    >
    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >
    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >
    > 6. Make your source code freeware.
    >
    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use...
    > is there another alternative?
    >
    > In short what would you do?


    You *must* copyright your code.
    Usually, it is sufficient to write something like

    Copyright 2004 Skybuck Flying

    somewhere near the top of each source file.

    Your employer cannot compel you to transfer the copyright
    for code that you wrote on your own time
    or code that you wrote for another employer.

    You can re-write code that you have written before
    for your new employer but you cannot copy any of the old code.
    This is probably the best solution as it gives you a chance
    to fix mistakes that you make in the old code.

    My experience is that employers have no objection
    to using third party packages or even freeware
    if they can get the necessary licenses at a reasonable price.
    Don't try to *sell* your employer a license
    as this creates a "conflict of interest".
    You can distribute your code under an open source license
    and you should try to convince your employer
    to allow you to "contribute" to the package
    which would allow you to maintain your software on company time.
     
    E. Robert Tisdale, Dec 4, 2004
    #9
  10. Skybuck Flying wrote:
    > Ok,
    >
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    > your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?

    Not unless you gain some benefit from the company.

    >
    > This could create problems ?!?

    Yes, especially under trade secrets, patents, copyrights and ownership.
    Many employers have a standard of "whatever is created at their
    facilities or using their equipment is theirs." Some may extend
    the scope to include any software written by their employees. Read
    and understand the employment contract carefully before using any
    personal software for your employer.


    > 2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to your
    > hobby source code.

    That is possible. Read the employment contract. Ask your manager
    about the legalities of using personal code in their projects.

    >
    > So what would you do ?
    >
    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.

    No. You can have a hobby that uses the same programming language as
    your profession. Just make sure that there is a clean definition
    and separation between your hobby and profession.


    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.

    That is safe. However, there may be some middle ground. Talk to
    the project manager or company lawyers.


    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.

    They may as long as they reap some benefit from it.
    Again, ask the employer.

    >
    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.
    >
    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >
    > 6. Make your source code freeware.
    >
    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > alternative ?
    >
    > In short what would you do ?

    I would talk to my manager, and consult a lawyer.

    >
    > Bye,
    > Skybuck.
    >
    >




    --
    Thomas Matthews

    C++ newsgroup welcome message:
    http://www.slack.net/~shiva/welcome.txt
    C++ Faq: http://www.parashift.com/c -faq-lite
    C Faq: http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/c-faq/top.html
    alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ faq:
    http://www.comeaucomputing.com/learn/faq/
    Other sites:
    http://www.josuttis.com -- C++ STL Library book
    http://www.sgi.com/tech/stl -- Standard Template Library
     
    Thomas Matthews, Dec 4, 2004
    #10
  11. Skybuck Flying

    Nobody Guest

    Some responses make good points, but I have PERSONAL experience with this. I
    am a Windows developer and over the years have compiled a GUI library with a
    lot of custom controls. Now keep in mind we are talking HOBBY code and not
    code that I intend to sell because if there is money involved, chances are
    it will get ugly.

    Now my GUI library... I have worked on it during college (when I was not
    working for anyone), and at several jobs... either job related or to kill
    time or both.

    Further comments are inlined:

    "Skybuck Flying" <> wrote in message
    news:coqf3l$4ao$1.ov.home.nl...
    > Ok,
    >
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language
    > as
    > your hobby programming language.
    >
    > The question rises:
    >
    > 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?


    Yes. If I need a specific control that I already have in my library, I have
    no intention of re-writing it. That would be f!#$ken stupid and a waste of
    my time. I could copy and past just the parts that I need, but my library is
    too interwoven for that.

    > This could create problems ?!?


    It can only cause you problems if you start to rock the boat...

    > 2. For example without thinking about it you might loose the rights to
    > your
    > hobby source code.


    I have worked on it at 3 jobs now... sometimes enhancing it for the company,
    sometimes goofing off. Technically 3 companies now own the code because I
    worked on it at work. Do any of the companies know that I have used code
    from previous jobs or am using "their" code commercially in other products?
    Nope... Don't rock the boat as I said... no one is going to go around
    comparing which DLLs a product installs. The fact that two of the companies
    are now pretty much dead helps me, but if I switch jobs, I would probably
    continue to take the source code around with me.

    > So what would you do ?


    > I myself see a number of possiblities:
    >
    > 1. Don't even take a job in the same programming language as your hobby.


    Thats dumb.. my hobby language is C++ as is my job. I'm not gonna learn
    another language.

    > 2. Don't even use your hobby source code.


    As I said above... waste of my time/life if I don't. I'm not gonna re-invent
    the wheel.

    > 3. In case you do use it, give the company a license to use your compiled
    > source, they probably won't like that.


    Now they won't. The first company I used this code for, I tried talking to
    my manager about licensing/ownership and he got all huffy about it saying he
    "knew I worked on it while goofing off" so technically they owned it...
    whatever... now they own a COPY of it. Most companies have a clause in the
    contract saying if you work on it at work, they own it and trying to talk to
    them about it will typically put you under the spot light.

    > 4. Give the company a license to use your source code.


    Again, no company will "license" or "buy" your code.. suggesting this will
    have the managers asking you why you aren't a team player or doing something
    good for the company.

    > 5. "Open Source" your code... like gnu license.
    >
    > 6. Make your source code freeware.


    I wasn't really concerned about money, etc. I was just concerned about
    maintaining ownership of the code. The first company didn't even like that
    idea.

    > Again I ask... which alternative would you use... is there another
    > alternative ?
    >
    > In short what would you do ?
    >


    BOTTOM LINE....

    If you don't intend to sell it, just shut up and use it. Asking the
    company/manager about it will just put you under the spot light. Is this
    good LEGAL advice? Probably not. Is this good REAL WORLD advice.. Probably
    YES.

    A company will tell you: 1) either give it to us fully, or 2) don't use it
    here and there wont be a problem.

    Either response is not good in my book and they know it...

    So just shut up and quietly use it.

    Now my situation may also be different since my GUI library is "general".
    Ie.. I am not working for a GUI library company. Just writing an application
    using my GUI library.

    Now can any of the 3 companies sue/fire me? Well, yeah, they probably could.
    I have a house and a BMW and cash in the bank, so I have assets. Am I
    worried that one of the companies would sue me/fire me? Hell no. Like I
    said, I shut up. I don't go around telling people that this is code I wrote
    outside of work, and GUIs suffeciently change over time where even though
    the underlying code is the same, it looks different enough.

    But if they did a file/source compare, well, then its obviously the same
    code.

    Don't rock the boat.... just keep a don't ask/don't tell policy.
     
    Nobody, Dec 4, 2004
    #11
  12. Re: [OT] Using hobby source code in your job ?

    This entire discussion is off-topic in comp.lang.c, where I'm reading
    it, and probably in all the other newsgroups to which it's posted.

    "E. Robert Tisdale" <> writes:
    [...]
    > You *must* copyright your code.
    > Usually, it is sufficient to write something like
    >
    > Copyright 2004 Skybuck Flying
    >
    > somewhere near the top of each source file.


    My understanding is that any written work is automatically copyrighted
    as soon as it's set down in tangible form. I'm not sure what, if any,
    additional legal protection is added by using a copyright header.

    > Your employer cannot compel you to transfer the copyright
    > for code that you wrote on your own time
    > or code that you wrote for another employer.


    I'm not convinced that that's accurate. It's at least partly a matter
    of whatever contractual arrangement you have with your employer.

    There are some things your employer can tell you to do, with the
    threat of firing you (or refusing to hire you in the first place) if
    you fail to do it. I don't know whether that includes telling you to
    transfer the copyright for code that you wrote on your own time.

    Bottom line, ERT is not a lawyer, and neither am I. I strongly
    recommend not depending on either of us for legal advice. If you
    insist on seeking legal advice from Usenet, at least post in a
    newsgroup where your question is topical. The misc.legal.computing
    newsgroup looks promising based on its name, but I know nothing more
    about it.

    --
    Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
    San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
    We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
     
    Keith Thompson, Dec 4, 2004
    #12
  13. Re: [OT] Using hobby source code in your job ?

    Keith Thompson wrote:

    > This entire discussion is off-topic in comp.lang.c, where I'm reading
    > it, and probably in all the other newsgroups to which it's posted.
    >
    > E. Robert Tisdale writes:
    > [...]
    >
    >>You *must* copyright your code.
    >>Usually, it is sufficient to write something like
    >>
    >> Copyright 2004 Skybuck Flying
    >>
    >>somewhere near the top of each source file.

    >
    > My understanding is that any written work
    > is automatically copyrighted as soon as it's set down in tangible form.


    It probably is but how does a judge and jury determine
    that the copyright belongs to you and not someone else?

    > I'm not sure what, if any, additional legal protection is added
    > by using a copyright header.


    It's evidence that you claimed the copyright at some point in time.

    >>Your employer cannot compel you to transfer the copyright
    >>for code that you wrote on your own time
    >>or code that you wrote for another employer.

    >
    > I'm not convinced that that's accurate. It's at least partly a matter
    > of whatever contractual arrangement you have with your employer.


    No legal contractual agreement
    can compel you to help your new employer steal code
    that you wrote for a former employer.

    > There are some things your employer can tell you to do,
    > with the threat of firing you
    > (or refusing to hire you in the first place)
    > if you fail to do it.
    > I don't know whether that includes telling you
    > to transfer the copyright for code that you wrote on your own time.


    If you agree to such a transfer before you are hired,
    the court will probably assume that your decision was voluntary.
    If they try to do so after you are employed,
    you can claim duress and the transfer is nullified.

    > Bottom line, ERT is not a lawyer, and neither am I.
    > I strongly recommend not depending on either of us for legal advice.


    I agree.
    See a lawyer who is expert in computer law.
    >
    > If you insist on seeking legal advice from Usenet,
    > at least post in a newsgroup where your question is topical.
    > The misc.legal.computing newsgroup looks promising based on its name,
    > but I know nothing more about it.
     
    E. Robert Tisdale, Dec 4, 2004
    #13
  14. Skybuck Flying

    Jerry Coffin Guest

    Re: [OT] Using hobby source code in your job ?

    Keith Thompson <> wrote in message news:<>...

    [ ... ]

    > My understanding is that any written work is automatically copyrighted
    > as soon as it's set down in tangible form. I'm not sure what, if any,
    > additional legal protection is added by using a copyright header.


    At least in those portions of the world that follow the "usual"
    international copyright laws (i.e. the Berne Convention) I don't
    believe it should make any difference at all. Under these laws, you're
    correct: the work is protected under copyright until or unless you
    specify otherwise.

    At least in the countries of which I'm aware, the next step beyond
    that would be to register the copyright. This often affects what
    happens when/if your copyright is violated. With an unregistered
    copyright, you can typically only stop the violation. With a
    registered copyright you can also recover monetary damages.

    If the OP is in the US, he might want to look at:

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html

    for more authoritative information on copyrights. I'd presume most
    other countries have similar sites, but since I didn't see the OP's
    post, I'm not sure which would apply.

    > I'm not convinced that that's accurate. It's at least partly a matter
    > of whatever contractual arrangement you have with your employer.


    This would fall under contract law. The Berne Convention provides
    relative uniformity of copyright laws, but no such thing has happened
    with contract law. It varies widely from one country to another, and
    often even within a country (e.g. in the US, contracts are governed
    (at least primarily) by state law).

    Of course, the usual disclaimers apply: I'm not an attorney and
    nothing I say should be construed as legal advice.

    --
    Later,
    Jerry.

    The universe is a figment of its own imagination.
     
    Jerry Coffin, Dec 4, 2004
    #14
  15. "Nobody" <> wrote in message
    news:xdbsd.188014$G15.99859@fed1read03...
    [...]
    >> 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?

    >
    > Yes. If I need a specific control that I already have in my library,
    > I have no intention of re-writing it. That would be f!#$ken stupid
    > and a waste of my time. I could copy and past just the parts that I
    > need, but my library is too interwoven for that.


    The biggest waste is that of company money. They are, after all, paying
    for my time. If done work redone is what they want, they can have it
    for all I care.


    >> This could create problems ?!?

    >
    > It can only cause you problems if you start to rock the boat...
    > <and more along this line>


    This is a pragmatist's viewpoint. An extreme pragmatist. Not everything
    you will probably get away with is ethical.

    A company hiring a programmer is inherently buying access to
    _knowledge_. As a programmer myself, I see little enough difference
    between what's in my head and what's on my (home) harddisk. They can
    have the use, but not the ownership, of both.

    I have been careful in my last four jobs to have in my contract that
    anything done on my own time that is not directly related to however
    the company makes its money, is none of their business. If I write a
    game on my own time, it's mine. If I have a good idea how to solve a
    work problem, of course it's theirs. If it makes them _really_ big
    money, they would of course do well to acknowlege it and motivate me
    to have more ideas like that.

    Groetjes,
    Maarten Wiltink
     
    Maarten Wiltink, Dec 4, 2004
    #15
  16. Re: [OT] Using hobby source code in your job ?

    "E. Robert Tisdale" <> wrote in message
    news:corgtt$1ad$...
    > Keith Thompson wrote:
    >> My understanding is that any written work
    >> is automatically copyrighted as soon as it's set down in tangible form.

    >
    > It probably is but how does a judge and jury determine
    > that the copyright belongs to you and not someone else?


    Article 3 of the Berne Convention states that, at least for citizens of
    member countries, all works by an author are protected whether published or
    not.

    Article 15 states that, "in the absence of proof to the contrary, ... it
    shall be sufficient for [the author's] name to appear on the work in the
    usual manner."

    >> I'm not sure what, if any, additional legal protection is added
    >> by using a copyright header.

    >
    > It's evidence that you claimed the copyright at some point in time.


    It's prima facie evidence; once someone provides evidence that you are not
    the author, what name is on the work is irrelevant.

    >>>Your employer cannot compel you to transfer the copyright
    >>>for code that you wrote on your own time
    >>>or code that you wrote for another employer.

    >>
    >> I'm not convinced that that's accurate. It's at least partly a matter
    >> of whatever contractual arrangement you have with your employer.

    >
    > No legal contractual agreement
    > can compel you to help your new employer steal code
    > that you wrote for a former employer.


    Obviously a contract cannot compel you to violate the copyright of a former
    employer.

    However, if the code is yours (not a work for hire), you can certainly by
    compelled by contract to hand all of your copyrights over to someone. In
    fact, that seems to be a standard part of most employment contracts these
    days. Specifically, you must typically name all works that you are _not_
    handing over. That makes it difficult to exclude future works, but there is
    at least one creative solution to that.

    S

    --
    Stephen Sprunk "God does not play dice." --Albert Einstein
    CCIE #3723 "God is an inveterate gambler, and He throws the
    K5SSS dice at every possible opportunity." --Stephen Hawking
     
    Stephen Sprunk, Dec 4, 2004
    #16
  17. Skybuck Flying

    MikeB Guest

    Re: [OT] Using hobby source code in your job ?


    > My understanding is that any written work is automatically copyrighted
    > as soon as it's set down in tangible form. I'm not sure what, if any,
    > additional legal protection is added by using a copyright header.


    I think it's awfully presumptuous that any snippet that you write is so
    unique that it could be NOT considered part of the public domain and could have
    a copyright applied...

    All this talk about hobby code, unless it applies to an application,
    independent in its' own right, and applicable to a specific task, or at very
    least a group of tasks, is much ado about nothing..

    And definitely not On Topic here...
     
    MikeB, Dec 4, 2004
    #17
  18. Skybuck Flying

    J French Guest

    On Fri, 3 Dec 2004 20:47:52 +0100, "Skybuck Flying"
    <> wrote:

    >Ok,
    >
    >Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    >Suppose you're considering taking a programming job in the same language as
    >your hobby programming language.
    >
    >The question rises:
    >
    >1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?


    My view is that what you 'take in' to a company is both yours and
    theirs
    - you have prior ownership, but by using it in production code you are
    implicitly giving the right to use the code to the company.

    What you do while working for the company is more difficult.
    One can easily spend thinking time at work
    - and run up the code at home

    Mostly companies are worried about 'non compete' agreements
    - there are few things more irritating than seeing an ex-employee move
    to another company (or set up their own) in direct competition.

    Regarding code copyright, it is similar to some advice I once heard
    about Insider Trading - 'That is what mothers in law are for'

    'Taking In' a mature product is a totally different thing
     
    J French, Dec 4, 2004
    #18
  19. Skybuck Flying

    Nobody Guest

    "Maarten Wiltink" <> wrote in message
    news:41b1a8ed$1$78772$4all.nl...
    > "Nobody" <> wrote in message
    > news:xdbsd.188014$G15.99859@fed1read03...
    > [...]
    >>> 1. Do you use your hobby source code in your job ?

    >>
    >> Yes. If I need a specific control that I already have in my library,
    >> I have no intention of re-writing it. That would be f!#$ken stupid
    >> and a waste of my time. I could copy and past just the parts that I
    >> need, but my library is too interwoven for that.

    >
    > The biggest waste is that of company money. They are, after all, paying
    > for my time. If done work redone is what they want, they can have it
    > for all I care.


    You might not care about re-writing stuff, but I do. In my case GUI controls
    are often tedious to write. Tedious twice is boring.

    >
    >>> This could create problems ?!?

    >>
    >> It can only cause you problems if you start to rock the boat...
    >> <and more along this line>

    >
    > This is a pragmatist's viewpoint. An extreme pragmatist. Not everything
    > you will probably get away with is ethical.


    Well, I guess thats where we differ :). I have worked for enough lousy
    companies (and one decent one) where the sleazy world of "company ethics"
    has been revealed. Companies are INHERENTLY unethical. They are scum (p.s.,
    I am 29 and have been programming professionally for 9yrs). Think about it.
    The average salaried Sr. Software Engineer will get about $90k to $120k per
    year in the US. How much will your manager make? probably quite a bit more
    in base + bonuses + stock options -- for doing quite a bit less (shooting
    the shit in meetings all day). At the average company, the average manager
    could make 2 to 3 times the money after its all said and done for doing
    almost nothing except project schedules. How about more Sr. managers? well,
    by the time you get higher up in the company, people are making 10 times or
    more what you make, again, for doing very little.

    Sorry, but why should I work my ass off to make them rich? you call it
    unethical, I call it realistic. If a manager is making $500k a year and I am
    making $90k to $120k, thats not fair. Yes thats how business works, and
    thats why I really don't give a shit. I don't go out of my way to help the
    company.

    And in case you are wondering... my company loves me, but do they show it
    with money or other compensation? hell no. If my manager is making $500k a
    year base, "fair" is me making over $300k to $400k, if not more. After all,
    the manager is making money off MY work. As is the company.

    The amount of stock options is equally out of wack.

    That was slightly off topic, but was to make my point. I could really not
    give a shit about ethics or the company. If I am not making any money off my
    work, I'm just a salaried employee, so I am not going to go out of my way
    to do extra or put in long hours, etc.

    And as I said before, I hide my opinion around most people, and my company
    loves me, but I could really not give a shit about helping them since I know
    I'm not being compensated fairly.

    Yes I am bitter :)

    > A company hiring a programmer is inherently buying access to
    > _knowledge_. As a programmer myself, I see little enough difference
    > between what's in my head and what's on my (home) harddisk. They can
    > have the use, but not the ownership, of both.
    >
    > I have been careful in my last four jobs to have in my contract that
    > anything done on my own time that is not directly related to however
    > the company makes its money, is none of their business. If I write a
    > game on my own time, it's mine. If I have a good idea how to solve a
    > work problem, of course it's theirs. If it makes them _really_ big
    > money, they would of course do well to acknowlege it and motivate me
    > to have more ideas like that.
    >
    > Groetjes,
    > Maarten Wiltink
    >


    Well, here in the US, companies are pretty much in charge. Often, if you
    rock the boat by asking for stuff in contracts they'll just get someone else
    who rolls over.
     
    Nobody, Dec 4, 2004
    #19
  20. Skybuck Flying

    Malcolm Guest

    "Skybuck Flying" <> wrote
    >
    > Suppose you have programmed a lot of "re-useable" source code.
    >
    > In short what would you do ?
    >

    It's a legal minefield.
    However the reality is that the easiest way to turn hobby code into money is
    to recycle it at work. You get your project in long before the deadline, and
    the employer sees that they have a diligent programmer on their books, and
    makes it a priority to retain you by paying you well.

    In practise it is impossible to prevent a employee from reusing code for a
    future organisation. The difficult part is usually understanding the
    algorithm rather than the details of the implementation.

    The exception is where the algorithm is so innovative that it can be
    patented, or where a whole program is recycled. Here you might want to
    consult a proper lawyer to see how you can protect your intellectual
    property whilst still working as a programmer.
     
    Malcolm, Dec 4, 2004
    #20
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