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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • It's real (Score:2, Informative)

    by Whammo (2555) on 2002.03.20 14:23 (#6159) Homepage Journal

    Is it ubiquitous? I'd say yes. Most companies have such an agreement in place to protect them from you using company resources - directly or indirectly - outside the company. For others, it's to protect them from you possibly producing something that could compete with them. For still others, it's simply greed - they do it because they can.

    Most companies are realistic about it. If it's not something the company does, it's infrequently pursued. Some companies shy away from potential legal issues by requiring your own work to have nothing identifying the company itself. I used to work for a division of GTE, which was later bought by General Dynamics. Both companies had no issue with my outside Perl work, although I was prohibited from using any GTE/GD email address or web site, or even identifying that I worked for them. This was to protect them from potential fraud charges with customer billing, customer contract fraud, and liability for the code that I write.

    My current company is (sort of) different. They view my work as a feather-in-the-cap (though who knows why ;-), a marketing line, so to speak, and thus encourage both the work, and the use of company resources to accomplish the same. (Of course, we started as just a bunch of geeks.) When we were purchased, the new parent company's lawyers attempted to get us to sign a form that, I kid you not, signed over the rights to everything we had ever done. They were unable to answer what they would want with my short stories from elementary school , nor what happens when some of that work already belongs to someone else. Since many of the senior people in our company do outside work, a large percentage of us refused to sign it.

    Most of the smaller companies are willing to compromise - a signed exemption stating what an employee is allowed to work on outside of the company. Most larger companies seem to have difficulty with that.

    I won't work for a company unless I have it in writing what exactly belongs to them, and for me. They may give the standard line, "Oh, it's just a rule that noone ever follows unless it's blatant.." If it's a rule, it's enforceable. Many companies attempt to even own the knowledge you gain on the job. I point out that they hired me for my experience, experience which is the total of knowledge learned on other jobs for companies that also want to own them. I'll agree, but only if they'll reteach me everything I already know.

    Starting out, it's difficult, because you've got nothing to leverage.