Web program advice

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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hugomax
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Web program advice

Post by hugomax » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:24 pm

A while ago I made a program that would benefit a contact center and save about 1500 hrs per month. This program was then developed by myself as I was seconded from agent role, however 3 months later I have found out that without my knowledge an IT department at a different location have been given all the information and an example of my program then have re-created it. I have been told today that I am no longer needed to maintain my program as IT in another location have been working on it and have taken over and are about to put it out to lots of various contact centers.
Do I have any rights as I am the person who invented the program. Its not registered and it doesnt have a copyright but a lot of people within the contact center I work for are aware that I thought this program up and developed it into what it is..there are currently 386 users registered and it has been very beneficial to the company. I am worried they now have no need for me as IT have taken over without me being part of it. So I go back as a CSA agent and the company stands to make a lot of money of my idea/program. any advise would be much appreciated as I feel I have had my idea/program taken away from me to be developed and I dont stand to make anything from it other than a pat on the back and a thank you. Can a company really do this?

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:48 pm

Hi hugomax and welcome to the forum.

From your explanation, would I be correct in thinking that you created this program during the course of your employment?

Copyright law sets down the rules on who is the copyright owner when a work is created. Basically the creator of the work is the copyright owner, except where the work is carried out during the course of employment.
I cases where an employee creates a work during the course of their employment, the copyright owner is the employer (i.e. the company), and the employer (company) therefore has the right to use the work as they see fit.

What I describe above is the default position under law - i.e. where there is no other agreement to the contrary, (such as in a contract of employment).


In short, if your created the program during the course of your employment, unless you have an agreement to the contrary your employer will own the copyright, and you have no claim to the work.

Sorry if this is not the answer your were looking for.....


Note: The above is based on UK law - you do not say where you are from (most countries have similar rules however)

hugomax
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Thanks for the reply

Post by hugomax » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:16 pm

Firstly ...thank you for reading my post and replying...and Im from Wales UK.

I thought that may be the case. Does this also apply if the project was put together at home rather than in the work place. The reason being is that I designed and made it at home but had to train the program out at work and maintain the database. I just feel a bit cheated because as I mention the company stands to make thousands per month from the program and I have been cut out because they have been developing it without me being included elsewhere... Do I have any intellectual rights being that I thought up the idea and constructed it. The company have merely cut me out by securing it with their internal IT department, making me surplus to requirement. I have read on a website that -
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The act of copying or adapting someone else’s work is a breach of copyright. Also any adaptation will be legally regarded as a derived work; so if you simply adapt the work of others, it will still be their work, and they have every right to object, (and are also entitled to any money you make from their work).

The only safe option is to create something that is not copied or adapted from the work of others.

There is nothing to stop you being inspired by the work of others, but when it comes to your own work, start with a blank sheet and do not try to copy what others have done.
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Does this mean that because I have thought up the idea before they started working on it I have an intellectual right. They have copied my idea so therefore they are infringing on my Idea, I have plenty of proof that I thought this up long before the company took over without my consent.

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Post by CopyrightAid » Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:50 pm

If you have developed the program from home, this does put a different light on matters, (or at least blur things).

The question really is whether your development work should be viewed as part of 'normal employment'. Your employers would no doubt say yes, but from what you are saying it may not be clear cut.

If this project has value to you, then my advice would be to arrange a meeting with a solicitor to discuss the details of your case and propose possible causes of action. If you ask around at your local CAB or business advice centres they may be able to recommend a solicitor dealing this area. It's also worth asking if you can get a free 1/2 consultation, (some solicitors will do this).

Bear in mind that your employer is likely to take a dim view of this, so my advice would be to treat cautiously.

hugomax
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Thank you

Post by hugomax » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:24 pm

Thank you very much for taking the time to give me some feedback I am really appreciative.

It is a bit messy, I think as you recommend my best option is to contact a solicitor who specifically deals with copyright and business.

One thing for sure I will know next time to copyright it from the onset or draw up an agreement before any work or development takes place.

Many thanks again/

If there is any outcome in the near future I will post this on the forum.

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