Freeing my code... need some guidance

Simon turner25 at
Sun Jan 11 16:03:19 UTC 2009

Ben Tilly wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Matthew Flaschen
> <matthew.flaschen at> wrote:
>> Ben Tilly wrote:
>>> You don't get to dictate or bind them in any way, shape or form.  You
>>> have no ownership of that code you wrote.  *Perhaps* you can convince
>>> them to do what you want, but I wouldn't count on it.  Please don't
>>> try to ignore this fact because if you do then you can get yourself
>>> into pretty serious trouble, very quickly.
>> It's true Simon needs to clear things with his employer (they almost
>> certainly own the code).  However, this  is hardly impossible.  You can
>> mention some of the major companies that contribute to FOSS (IBM,
>> Oracle, Red Hat, Sun, even Microsoft).  Tell them the FOSS community
>> will help maintain the code, while the company can still do what they
>> like with it (which includes potentially not mentioning their name).
>> And don't make /them/ figure out the licensing issues  Tell them "You
>> should let me release this under BSD [or whatever you choose].  Here's why."
> One of his desires is that his employer be bound by his license.  If
> they own the software, they are unlikely to agree with that.
>>> There is no point wasting time thinking about what copyright license
>>> you wish to put on code you don't have copyright to.
>> I disagree.  Obviously, only the employer can make the final decision.
>> However, if Simon has specific licenses in mind (and reasons for them)
>> when he talks to The Boss, it will be more convincing then saying, "Hey,
>> maybe you should let me use one of the 72 licenses at this site."
> His reasons include, "Because I want to use this in a business I am
> planning to found."  Most employers won't like that reason very much.
> :-)
> He has to come up with a reason that is palatable to them.  For
> instance, "If you let me open source this, I will be so enthusiastic
> that I'll put in extra time on nights and weekends."  Which will be
> true.  *But* only if he is allowed to own what he does on his own
> time.  As I said before, he needs to consult a lawyer first to find
> out where he stands given his contract and local laws.

I haven't discussed any of my future plans with my employer, I'm still new at 
the company...  but I see a lot of opportunities where I could bring solutions 
to them...  I'm a sales rep in short, and we lack some important tools.  I don't 
want to just be promoted to "programmer" because I won't see/feel the problems 
I'm solving, I'll just be executing orders.  There is such a project at work 
that was supposed to be a solution, but it ended being too difficult to manage 
and doesnt even help much.  I wish to stay in my position and build this 
solution for myself first and if it helps me, then spread it to the others.

But my plans also go beyond my work in this company.  I am starting studies in 
administration and my goal is to start my own company.  I will tell this to my 
employer some day.  I will explain to them that I will stay at their side, fully 
dedicated, I will give them everything while I'm with them, because in return, I 
get some experience at handling different aspect of a company (now as a sales 
rep i get to see more in depth this part of the marketing department, the 
importance of it and the problems that this area has, i wish to fix the problems 
and use this experience later in my own company).  I think I might stay with 
them maybe what, 5 or even 10 years...  these guys fire you anyway when you stay 
with them too long, because you cost them too much... this unless you are in a 
position that is unique and necessary.  I think they will like what I just said, 
during these 5-10 years, we should both benefit, then part or own ways.

> On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 6:34 PM, Charlie Poole
> <charlie at> wrote:
>> Hi Ben,
>>> Woah.  Back up.  Your contract says that your employer owns
>>> the work you do for them.  That means, literally, that your
>>> employer owns it.
>>> Period.
>> I found the original post ambiguous as to whether the "project"
>> for which Simon developed his software was for his employer,
>> or one that he had been doing on the side. Perhaps he can
>> clarify.
> Re-reading, I did make an assumption there.  However I note that even
> if he did develop it on the side, it may still be owned by his
> employer.
> Cheers,
> Ben

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