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Legal Ownership of PHP System?


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#1 aeroboy

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 08:40 PM

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.


#2 freakus_maximus

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 08:54 PM

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.

#3 .josh

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:45 PM

.. 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 overcharge, 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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#4 AndyB

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 11:16 PM

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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#5 .josh

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 11:24 PM

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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Please, take the time and do some research and find out how much it would have cost you to get your help from a decent paid-for source. A "roll-of-the-dice" freelancer will charge you $5-$15/hr. A decent entry level freelancer will charge you around $15-30/hr. A professional will charge you anywhere from $50-$100/hr. An agency will charge anywhere from $100-$250/hr. Think about all this when soliciting for help here. Think about how much money you are making from the work you are asking for help on. No, we do not expect you to pay for the help given here, but donating a few bucks is a fraction of the cost of what you would have paid, shows your appreciation, helps motivate people to keep offering help without the pricetag, and helps make this a higher quality free-help community :)

#6 bocochoco

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 07:40 AM

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.

#7 eddedwards

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 09:55 AM

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.

#8 aeroboy

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:56 PM

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


#9 AndyB

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 01:22 PM

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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#10 neylitalo

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 03:52 PM

[!--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) View Post[/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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