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303

But is it uncommon for developers to keep a personal copy of the code they wrote (for future reference)? I don't know how common it is, but common or not, it's still a bad idea. Programmers often operate in the mindset that solving the same problem twice is a waste of time. We try to design our code to be reusable (sometimes). We build libraries of ...


160

I always keep a copy of the code I write and take it between jobs. Subsequent employers never get to see/run the code, but I use it as a reference at home: 'Ah yes, didn't I do something similar to that on Project X?'. Is this legal? Depends on jurisdiction and circumstances, but it is fairly common. Morally, I have no problem with it, providing you aren't ...


105

The view that the software engineers can be pigeon-holed into the same classification as medical professionals or accountants is an ignorant view of the "problem" that they are trying to solve. Before I give my opinion on this, lets break down some of the arguments of Mr. Thornton, who is Vice Chair of the regulatory body proposing this legislation. “Just ...


74

I have never heard of something like that, and it would be ridiculous, because a fake screenshot can be produced just as easily as a fake value in a database. EDIT Besides, I mean, WTF? since you cannot get a screenshot of someone's screen over the web, you will obviously have to reconstruct the page on the server and take a screenshot of that, and then who'...


72

How fortunate that no one dies thanks to medical regulation, no one is hurt by fraud thanks to financial regulation, no one has their house foreclosed thanks to housing regulation, no one ever gets a bad haircut thanks to barber regulation, and no plane ever crashes thanks to aircraft regulation. Obviously, the presence of regulation does not imply an ...


61

Be proactive and contact the company who runs the service you are using, and ask them if they are ok with your app being available on the app store, and with the way it uses their services. This approach has benefits: If you ignore the email from this competing company, they might inform the service owners of your app, which might lead them to ask you to ...


61

(Disclaimer: IANAL - for reliable advice on legal issues, ask a lawyer) See the discussion on the OSI mailing list for some of the immediate issues with the license. My interpretation: It's not global. It doesn't make sense outside of a commonwealth ecosystem, is explicitly illegal in some places (Germany), and of unclear legality in others (Australia) It'...


51

This is a very bad idea. That code doesn't belong to you (legally speaking) and having possession of it can get you into a lot of trouble. This becomes even more true when you move to a new job and still keep that source code around. Even worse if it's a competitor. Your company would not be happy if you had access to their source code when you don't work ...


43

The clauses you mention come from several different standard contracts. An NDA basically covers "anything we tell you, you can't tell to anyone else, no matter what". There are some standard exceptions to this (which should be explicitly listed in the NDA). These standard exceptions are: Publicly available knowledge from some other source. Things that ...


43

Find a lawyer. Go with his advice over ours. If the amount you're out isn't worth hiring a lawyer, let it go and chalk it up to experience. Do NOT do anything from your side that would make you look bad in court or open you up to a countersuit. Hold up your end of the agreement completely. You may want to contact them and ask them why you're suddenly ...


41

It is almost never OK, legally or ethically, to release products that you have created using your employer's resources or while being payed by the employer for your time without permission. However, it depends on your employment contract. If you were paid by the company and/or used company resources to produce the product, chances are that the work belongs ...


39

The commercial software would need to include the copyright notice for the work it has used. It doesn't mean the entire commercial work is then licensed under the MIT license. For example, I would expect to see the copyright notice for the commercial software, with the following wording added: This software includes the Yannbane Awesome Library: ...


38

These answers were extracted from the book Patents, Copyright and Trademark, highly recommended. If you plan to buy one, notice that there's a newer edition than that I have. Does a single date imply that the author claims copyright of the file from that date until eternity? "The copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, under ...


36

It's not uncommon. I have a copy of almost1 every piece of code I've written professionally, and certainly all the code from my current projects, regardless of who wrote it2. Along with the code I have a huge pile of legal paperwork clearly defining what I can and cannot do with it. Just having the code is not the same as trying to profit from the code. ...


35

Good question, but it's probably the wrong place to ask because you won't get good legal advice from programmers. IANAL, seek proper legal advice. It doesn't feel legal. There's a very good chance that if you release an almost identical program to the one that your old company owns you could be sued. That said I'm sure it happens a lot. One thing you ...


35

I know that I am beginning this answer with a question but I do have a point: Without calling to question the supposed absurdity of the request, if this is a typical HTTP browser based web application how would one programatically capture a screenshot and send it to the server? I would hope this is impossible as it would represent a serious browser ...


35

That would not be an Open Source license by the definition of the Open Source Initiative: 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons. Rationale: In order to get the maximum benefit from the process, the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally ...


34

Whatever happens: Never write such code without having an email or other evidence showing clearly that you just followed the instructions of your employer.


33

It depends on which license. There are some free software licenses that are specifically designed to prevent people from doing stuff like that, such as the GNU GPL. They're known as "viral" licenses, because their licensing terms spread to any code you use them with, which keeps you from using a GPL library in a non-GPL (or compatible) program. Other ...


32

History has shown, aptly I believe, that the difference between an excellent craftsman and a mediocre one cannot be tested with any form of objective measure. Basic knowledge does not make a great programmer, wisdom and experience--which cannot really be taught or measured objectively-- of how to apply that basic knowledge does. Also, these tests usually ...


31

I would tell them that you can't sign that without legal counsel, and as you didn't know they would be asking you to sign anything additional, they should cover your legal costs. Explain that you simply can't sign something that complicated without an expert to advise you. If they refuse, don't sign it. If they cover your legal costs, let your attorney hash ...


31

"If I gave you such a warranty, and I gave it to all my other customers too, probably I would be out of business very soon. All it takes is a single malicious customer who finds a bug and uses it to deliberately cause large fictive damages. Because of the complexity of software development, it's currently next to impossible to create software that doesn't ...


29

I see your arrested Chinese man and raise you with a "code is not property, therefore cannot be stolen". Ref.: Code 'not physical property', court rules in Goldman Sachs espionage case With that said. Do I keep code I write? Absolutely. Do I keep full projects? Absolutely. Do I make sure I thumb drive my code from my work PC onto a home machine? You ...


29

This is really, really a case for a lawyer. Should you refund your client? Not until your attorney told you so. By refunding your client, you might inadvertently admit that your work was not adequate, so your client might use that to claim damages for his work, for the lost business opportunity etc.


27

I would think the real question would be did the person whose name appears on the form really fill out the form? In other words if someone goes to the website and enters the name "Bill Gates" and clicks the box "it's OK to send me email" how would a screenshot prove it was the real Bill Gates? Have they considered doing what lots of sites do and that is ...


26

You should decide before you start the project, who will maintain ownership of the code. If they happily allow you to keep ownership then you're fine to use it in other projects. If they wish to take ownership after then it's a negotiating point.


23

Silicon Valley News - June 31, 2015 Horror: Uncertified programmer made program abort "I'll never be able to run again", outputs the victim. Police is investigating. Criminal: License of Dr H. Acker Jr. revoked for incorrect use of pointer and attempts to read from system file Advocate says there is going to be appeal to Supreme Court. Announcements:...


22

Using an organization name to sell Android apps is a good idea for the same reasons it's a good idea to use public interfaces when programming instead of directly exposing private data: It looks more stable. (A one-man organization has no ties other than to its task of providing apps; a person's name is tied to a person and inherits all their interpersonal ...


21

Legal or not, if your employer finds out and decides to press the issue you will be in a world of hurt. Even if you end up being judged right, the potential litigation can end up being completely ruinous for you. You also risk incurring the wrath of the OSS community for polluting it with copyrighted code as well as the loss of reputation from being viewed ...


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