Re: Legal Question

Subject: Re: Legal Question
From: Dick Margulis <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 17:37:35 -0400

Nancy Keller wrote:
> I have a legal question regarding technical manuals. My company is
> undergoing a merger with another company and the other company is requiring
> that we fill out an employee agreement.

[--big snip--]

Work for hire (what we all do when we write doc for an employer or
client) belongs to the employer or client UNLESS you have a contract
that states otherwise, reviewed and approved by YOUR attorney, and
signed by an officer or other legal representative of the employer or

I had a good relationship with my former manager. He held high status in
the company. I asked politely. I explained the reason. I offered a
selection of discontinuous pages from a variety of documents, all with
company-specific numbers, names, and facts deleted or bogused up. He was
sympathetic. Guess what. He was not an officer of the company. He had no
more authority to let me take doc with me than I had to take it without
permission; and the officers he asked on my behalf said No. Understand,
though, that all doc I produced on that job was internal engineering
doc, not user doc.

In my current employ, I negotiated a specific exception into my
non-disclosure agreement, accepted by the corporate attorney. The
exception applies only to user doc or other externally distributed

As a general principle, copyright implies publication. (There may be an
exception if the document is also marked confidential or proprietary.)
So, if you produce a copyright manual for distribution with retail
software, presumably you can legally possess a copy. Otherwise, see your


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