[Project_owners] Copyright belongs to employer

Erwan Loisant erwanloisant at yahoo.co.jp
Sat Nov 15 20:51:32 EST 2003

Ben Bucksch wrote:

> I am not aware of such legislation in Europe.
Even in Europe there can be a problems when writing Free Software in you 
spare time.

Usually your sign a non-concurrence clause in your contract, meaning 
that you can not do a similar job for anyone else than your employer 
during your contract and maybe 6 months after the end of your contract. 
Usually this clause is not so strict to make it legal for people to find 
job in IT after quitting the company, but one should not just switch to 
the direct competitor.

That would mean that if you're developping, for example an accounting 
software at your company, if you develop an other accounting software at 
home on your own hardware your Free Software will be illegal. At least 
in France, the law considers that you developped the software using 
knowledge from your company, this is unfair concurrence for your company.

I am not sure what it says about using your employer's hardware and 

So I would give three advices for Open Source developers, at least under 
the French law:
- Use your own hardware and software.
- Don't develop software too close to what you do at work. If you're 
working on database integration and you're developping an adblocker 
extension for Firebird, you'd be safe.
- Let know your employer you're developping Free Software in your spare 
time, to make sure he doesn't consider you're concurrencing .

By the way, HJ, can we have more informations about your friends' trial 
? Was he developping software in the same field than hes company ? Did 
he intend to make money from hes software ?

Erwan Loisant - Ph.D. student
Tokyo Metro U. / Univ. Nantes

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