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Re: Call for lawyers: GPL Intelectual property protection

On Thu, Oct 29, 1998 at 11:35:07PM -0800, Matthew Schlegel wrote:
> I'm starting at Microsoft on monday (its just for the money, no flames please)
> as a contractor.  Part of the contract I had to sign included the following
> clause:
> The previous paragraph of this Agreement does not apply to any invention for
> which no equipment, supplies, facility, or trade secret information of the
> Company or Client was used and which was developed entirely on Employee's own
> time, and (a) which does not relate to the business of the Company or Client
> or to the Company's or Client's actual or demonstrably anticipated research or
> development, or (b) which does not result from any work performed for the
> Company or Client.
> I'm not a lawyer and not *too* familiar with all the intricacies of the GPL,
> and thus, I want to make sure that the stuff I'm developing (primarily at
> home, but I don't want Microsoft getting any ideas) is safe from any attempt
> by Microsoft to seize control.  While I have no intention of developing at

It reads to me like anything at all you do while being employed by Microsoft,
if at all related to Microsoft's business (ie software), even if developed
completely in your own time, on your own hardware, at your own cost,
not using any secrets learnt at Microsoft, they still have a right to
that work. This seems to mean they would have license to the code if
they wanted it, and you have to keep records, designs, drawings etc,
of it for them. Even if the software is GPL, you as author have the right
to issue it also under another license, and they could force you to do that.

IANAL but I'd be surprised if this is even legal! Surely Microsoft
would have to provide something -- equipment, time, money, ideas
or training -- they can't just steal your every thought that happens
to be about computers. Apparently they think they can.

Hamish Moffatt VK3TYD              hamish@debian.org, hamish@rising.com.au
Latest Debian packages at ftp://ftp.rising.com.au/pub/hamish. PGP#EFA6B9D5
CCs of replies from mailing lists are welcome.   http://hamish.home.ml.org

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