RE: Article on Contracting vs Employee

Subject: RE: Article on Contracting vs Employee
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 10:32:33 -0700

Scottie Lover [mailto:iluvscotties -at- mindspring -dot- com]
> This is unpleasantly true -- and many employers make it known that
> anything written by any of their employees (even at home on
> a weekend) belongs to the employer. That is one immediate advantage
> to changing jobs every so often ... e.g., if you've only had one
> employer since college, he is going to claim everything you've done as >
his property.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for an employer to lay claim to work an
employee does within the same vertical industry, and I've had employment
contracts that had provisions such as this. The nature of full-time
professional employment doesn't really have provisions for weekends and
evenings, and a telecommuting arrangement could certainly blur the lines

As such, I think it's perfectly reasonable for my employer to lay claim to
anything I write about telecommunications while I'm employed here, and I'm
fairly certain that that's what my employment contract states.

On the other hand, I absolutely will not sign any contract that lays claim
to everything I write. While I can't imagine what my current employer might
want with my review of Disco Bloodbath or my pointless Usenet posts, I tend
to CMA when I sign a contract. I figure it's reasonable for me to maintain
my copyright in *my* line of work and within the general technology domain
as well. If I were ever to decide to write an article about tech writing or
about a computer technology outside of my employer's primary industry, I
would retain that copyright. If I write something within my primary
industry, I would expect my employer to claim it, and rightfully.

As others have pointed out, most employers don't seem to have a problem with
making small, reasonable modifications to an employment contract if there's
a valid reason for doing so.


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