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Re: Call for lawyers: GPL Intelectual property protection

Matthew Schlegel writes:
> 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.

You can't.  This contract gives them the right to claim exclusive rights to
any software that you work on while you are employed by them.

> In the case that GPL does not protect against this type of clause,
> perhaps someone can suggest a poison pill I can put into my license to
> protect it?

No license can protect your work if you sign this contract.  It assigns all
rights to your work to Microsoft in advance.  This means that Microsoft,
not you, would have the exclusive right to license the work.  Any license
you publish under without Microsoft's permission would be invalid, and you
would be infringing their copyright.

If you have not already signed this contract, write in a clause describing
your project and stating that it is exempt.

If you have already signed all you can do is approach them for permission
to GPL your project.  If they say no you must stop working on it until you
leave them.
John Hasler
john@dhh.gt.org (John Hasler)
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI

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