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aeroboy

Legal Ownership of PHP System?

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Hello,

I'm a rookie when it comes to PHP. I am working for the government as a co-op student. My supervisor is pitching an idea to employ a PHP-based forum where users can talk about problems they're having. I am to create the website (using PHP and MySQL).

I am wondering if there is a possibility of legally owning (copyright, patent) whatever PHP-based forum I create, to sell to other clients as a forum package. Can this supposed copywritten product be marketed and sold to organizations as (for example) a "web-based forum solution for your communications needs" which I would then set up to my customer's specifications?

Thanks.

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You would really need to check with your supervisor and get written authorization that whatever code you write is your property. Most employers have stipulations that anything your create on the job/for the employer is owned by the employer. Unless you have a written agreement that releases their ownership, you would not be entitled to it.

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.. or, if you were just asking a general question, as in, are you allowed to copywright and sell php scripts in general, the answer is yes, you can (assuming you have permission from your boss, for your own circumstance though...read above post). Many forum packages as well as other scripts are available for a fee. Lol, just look around. vBulletin, for example, is a bulletin board system that charges you for their product... and they [i]over[/i]charge, if you ask me [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/laugh.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":laugh:\" border=\"0\" alt=\"laugh.gif\" /]

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Let me see if I understand your question.

Your employer would pay you to produce something of value for them, and you want to know if you can then copyright it and re-sell it? 'Not a chance' would be my expectation. I don't know what copyright laws apply in your jurisdiction, but this sure sounds like a no-brainer.

Google's [a href=\"http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ9.html\" target=\"_blank\"]work made for hire[/a] results will get you started on investigating the employer/employee relationship.

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well what you COULD do is hurry up and write it before it gets approved and then offer to license it to them... for a nominal fee [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/laugh.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":laugh:\" border=\"0\" alt=\"laugh.gif\" /]

well even then i'm not sure if that would work out for you. i bet their lawyers are bigger than yours you'd probably lose that one :/

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I have been there before. Typically if you are writing something for them, they will own the copyright for it. If you signed a paper or anything, the fine print would probably have said something about that.

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why not just take a copy of it once youve given them
your finished version. then when u get home change it
enough for them not to be able to sue you for it and then
copyright your own software at home.

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From the recent feedback, it seems like it IS possible to copyright code.

I am not even saying that I'd like to take whatever I create, and personally sell it under the table to other companies (sneakily). My supervisor and I could go with this copywritten web-based solution package and pitch it to other companies (or government departments, or what have you). My supervisor and I are on the same team. From the replies, it seems like one CAN obtain legal ownership of code-based websites.

Thanks, y'all

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For clarity's sake, whether you or you and your supervisor are doing this the copyright will be owned by your employer, i.e. the government, not you/your supervisor, etc.

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[!--quoteo(post=376619:date=May 24 2006, 04:55 AM:name=Steady_Eddie)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Steady_Eddie @ May 24 2006, 04:55 AM) [snapback]376619[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--] why not just take a copy of it once youve given them your finished version. then when u get home change it enough for them not to be able to sue you for it and then copyright your own software at home. [/quote]

In order to "change it enough for them not to be able to sue you", you'd have to completely rewrite it. The specific action you speak of is most likely also in an agreement signed by the employee. I know it's in mine.

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