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Using hobby source code in your job ?

 
 
Skybuck Flying
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      12-03-2004
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.


 
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Andrew Koenig
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      12-03-2004
"Skybuck Flying" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:coqf3l$4ao$(E-Mail Removed)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.


 
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Jim P
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
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.
 
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Victor Bazarov
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
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
 
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Jim P
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
Andrew Koenig wrote:

> "Skybuck Flying" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:coqf3l$4ao$(E-Mail Removed)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.
 
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Grant Wagner
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
Andrew Koenig wrote:

> "Skybuck Flying" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:coqf3l$4ao$(E-Mail Removed)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 <(E-Mail Removed)>

 
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Chris Smith
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-03-2004
Skybuck Flying <(E-Mail Removed)> 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
 
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=?iso-8859-1?q?Nils_O=2E_Sel=E5sdal?=
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-04-2004
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.

 
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E. Robert Tisdale
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-04-2004
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.
 
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Thomas Matthews
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-04-2004
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

 
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