I am a salaried web developer and I am about to start a small development business on my own as a second income. I want to know if there is a best practice in regards to avoiding infringing on the copyright of my main employer. To best illustrate the question and give it some concepts, consider the following scenarios:
I develop an ACL library for my employer. I have used best practices, my own naming conventions, and coding style to do this. I have used a proven design pattern to implement it. Now I find use for this ACL in my own external business. I write the ACL again from scratch to avoid infringement, but because I gave my employer my best work, the code I come up with is similar in style, structure, design, etc. Am I infringing on their copyright?
Think of the scenario above but in reverse. I create an ACL package on my own time. I utilize it for years. Then later I decide my employer's system could really use an ACL. So I recreate my work for them and it is eerily similar. Have I infringed copyright in that situation? If not how could I prove that I haven't?
I asked a peer this very question and he suggested that it didn't matter. As a salaried employee I am never off of the company's time and therefore never on my own time. So everything I develop, whether or not it is in their facility, for their project, using their equipment, it is their work to copyright. Is this possible?
Anyway, I don't think that my employer would bring suit against me, but being the cautious analytical type I was wondering how the community deals with this situation. How can I best safeguard myself and my work?
[Closed]??? Really??? So where does one post questions about general programming topics on the exchange? It seems like this should be the place. I think that the moderators are stifling valid discussion directly related to contemporary programming topics. If this site is so specific, what is its distinction from StackOverflow? Less traffic?
From the faq:
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What about your this is confusing. This question is completely on topic! This community needs to adhere to its own guidelines!