Hi guys

Most of you probably dont know me, i am following this (and the other) ASM forum very closely, but i dont post regularly, as there are many here who are better trained than me to answer the questions, and for my own questions i usually use google first ;). I am a friend of Bogdan Ontanu and i'm working with him on the Solar OS project.
Here's my question:

After years of independent work, i decided to try the other way (again) and i've got a job at a well-respected multi-national company.(Please note that i live in Romania). When i was about to sign the contract, i noticed a phrase that realy struck me, it basically said that "everyting that i create/have author (copy)right on is their property if its created during the period that i am their employee". This affects me as i develop shareware games as a side-project (of course written in MASM  ;) ) and this would give them all rights to my work ( also parts of SolOS would be their property :D ).
I find this "clause" incredible, and i was wondering if this is a world-wide policy of all/most companies or its just applied in my (3rd world) country...

In this way any CREATION of me (from a book to an OS to a 'perpetuum mobile'  :D ) is their property, and i cease all my rights to it in their favor. I would have found a reasonable 'clause' to say that everything i create/have rights on that was effectively created during my job/at their office to be their property.

Please let me know what you think of this 'clause' and if you encountered something like this...

Thanks for your time

Posted on 2006-04-23 14:46:48 by Eugen
Hi Eugen,

Well, I do not work in software but I had a clause inserted in my contract with my employer to protect any software that I develop on my own time, that is time that I do not bill to our clients or the company. Also the clause covers intellectual property rights to my ideas even if they were formulated in whole or in part at work...

Works related to the employee's job responsibilities, even if they are not specifically requested to create them, will belong to the company as works-for-hire. A copyright work is related to the employees job responsibilities if it is the kind of work the employee is assigned to do and does, at least in part, for use at work, or for use by fellow employees, the employer or the employer's clients. The work should be performed substantially at work using company facilities, but use of personal time or other facilities to create the work will not change its basic nature if it is related to the job as described above. Works that have nothing to do with job duties will remain the property of the employee, so long as they make no more than incidental use of company facilities.

The actual clause is much longer than this and written in legalese but that is the gist of what it says in plain english. Also it goes into more detail about what is personal time and what is work time as well as 2 paragraphs describing my job responsibilities. I have found that companies can be open to this type of insertion as long as it is very clear that you will not gain any rights to their property.
Posted on 2006-04-23 15:39:55 by donkey

Hi Donkey

Thanks for your answer. What you say is exactly what i was thinking/hoping, to specify more clearly what is my work for them and what they own of my activity.
I hope they will be flexible, because i dont know if i will.. :D  i will find it out in the next few days.. :D.


Posted on 2006-04-23 16:14:29 by Eugen

Posted on 2006-04-23 16:30:09 by rea
It is pretty standard, but Donkey hit it on the head. Just don't try making profit or violating NDAs, and you should be fine. SolOS is GPL AFAIK, so they have very little interest or legal standing there ;)
Posted on 2006-04-23 17:32:55 by SpooK


Very educating link, thanks.

Just don't try making profit or violating NDAs, and you should be fine.

Well, i'm trying to make some profit on my own (shareware games now, but other options might arise), not based on my work inside this company.


Posted on 2006-04-23 18:45:08 by Eugen
Eugen, I'm afraid a clause like that is pretty standard, I've heard many people bitch about it. Some companies even *do* enforce it. But you can try talking with your bosses and hope they're flexible :)

PS: nice that you still hang around, I'm sad Bogdan left :(
Posted on 2006-04-24 01:18:27 by f0dder

Before reading the info from the link http://unixguru.com/ i was more optimistic, but now i am very pessimistic that they will allow any change to that clause.... Eh, we'll see.
It's sad to see though that this kind of clause is a 'standard'.. I'm getting a big urge to drop this ...ing idea to join a company until i am really starving...  :D

PS: nice that you still hang around, I'm sad Bogdan left :(

Thanks. My reasons are really pretty selfish, its too much good info on both boards to choose only one of them  ;).


Posted on 2006-04-24 08:30:48 by Eugen