Do I need to inform my employer before contributing to an Open Source Project?

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Jul 7 17:22:48 UTC 2007

Joseph Hick scripsit:

> 1. i am contributing to an open source project from my
> home. the project is in no way related to my job. (at
> work, i am involved with telecommunication software,
> where as i am contributing to linux kernel). do I need
> to inform my employer before working on this open
> source project, so that all my contributions can
> remain open source?

It depends on local law.  Under California law, you need not
inform your employer at all.  Under New York law, everything
you do belongs to your employer unless you have agreed otherwise
in writing.  YMMV.  IANAL; TINLA.

> 4. same as above but my project is closely related to
> a product of my company that i work for.

This is a very dangerous case, and I wouldn't go anywhere near it.

John Cowan  cowan at
If he has seen farther than others,
        it is because he is standing on a stack of dwarves.
                --Mike Champion, describing Tim Berners-Lee (adapted)

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