> Are there any websites out there that cover this
> in detail for IE? Or even the EU.
Very useful doc on employment rights legislation:
omits an old gem we used to use where we entitled ourselves to 10mins
break for every 40mins of sitting in front of a monitor, apparently
health and safety entitlement and management never challenged it.
On Trade Secrets etc, a complete collection of links available here
(although value is limited):
Searching bailii.org has not turned up any interesting precidents for
what we are concerned with, but it did throw up the copyright act:
Largely irrelevant and aimed at the performing arts, but if you
checkout the section on "Database Rights" you will see interesting
parallels with the issues discussed and that of software development.
It deals with licencing, and licencing of sub-sections of the works.
The parallels are so uncanny that you (ok.. "I") would have to say
that a 1 to 1 correlation exists in relation to the issues, and if
that is the case then:
a) Your employer owns the rights to your code & algorithms
b) You cant knowningly extract sections and reuse elsewhere
c) You are exempt if you sub-consciously resuse elsewhere
d) Employer looses their rights 15 years after the end of the calendar
year when the work was first released.
Item c is interesting, as it would relate to what people gain in
experience with an employer. To physically copy the code, and refactor
into another employers application is against the law. Memorising the
magic three step process, and re-doing it from memory, is against the
law. Inherintly doing it the way it was done at the old place, because
that is the way your brain is tuned into solving that problem would
appear to be classed as "transient and incidental" copying, and is not
a violation of the law. Proving that a copyright breach occured under
b and not c would be an impossible task, as only the actual violator
really knows, and proving that would appear key to winning a lawsuit
in this regard.
That said, being human, you can do anything you want, but the
protection of the law is with your employer should they wish to
utilise it, which it would appear from the lack of precident, they
dont usually, which makes perfect commercial sense in just about 99%
of cases. "I think he is using our optimised bubble sort".... who
cares? Prove it, cost the litigation, cost of man hours pre and in
the courts preparing and fighting it, cost of lost man hours on core
company work, cost his defence fees in case you loose, cost the
damages you wish to seek off him, and now evaluate his net worth and
see what you are going to be able to get irregardless of a favourable
court award. Unless you've stolen the info regarding the secret
ingredient in coca-cola, or the key to curing aids / ebola, then in
all honesty you're not going to be worth enough to cover their legal
fees even if they win, and they'll just end up paying for all costs
involved when you declare yourself bankrupt.
The result of that is a waste of time, waste of effort, waste of
money, and pissed off shareholders. Like fearlessly tracking down
hackers, it just not going to happen outside of government unless the
stakes are really really high.
If anyone has experience of the copyright laws, or if there is a
lawyer present, or if anyone cares to read the above act and offer a
different interpretation, I'm sure we'd all love to hear another point
of view (as in, whats above is only my opinion..... dont rely on it as
> US Laywer on trade secrets:
>http://my.execpc.com/~mhallign/>> ITWorld on the lovely concept of Inevitable disclosure:
>> Some ex Novel peeps got badly burned by it.
>> >"Without adequate legal controls there is a risk that contract
terms will be
> >unfair to one party, whether the contract is between a business and
> >consumer or between two businesses dealing on one party's standard
> >And the UK DTI has a web page on the Fair and reasonable test for
> >http://www.dti.gov.uk/access/unfair/annex1.htm> >
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