Employer disclaimer

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Employer disclaimer

Post by fgs »

I have just started on a paid placement (ESF-funded through the local authority), and wish to ensure that the authority doesn't end up holding any IP rights in the work I do, mainly because while they are paying my wages (NMW) for a 3-month FTC, I am in effect working on a day-to-day basis for my hosts, who are a local charity. My work is such that I am treated by the hosts as part and parcel of their organisation (rather like IR35 in the case of contractors).

I believe that in this almost Byzantine arrangement, it's the local authority that would by default be considered (s.11(2) CDPA) to be the author of any work I do. Is this right? (FWIW, the standard terms they provide ask for an explicit assignment anyway.)

There are some potential conflicts of interest between the authority and the host - we are simultaneously a partner, a supplier and a competitor - so I don't entirely trust the authority to do the right thing once the placement is over, particularly since it's intended as a means to give the hosts a free probation rather than being task-focused. I have struck out two paragraphs of the standard terms regarding IP rights, and added a covering letter asking them to countersign this statement, in the second person as a continuation of the existing terms - is this enough to cover my back, does it go too far, or not far enough?
The Authority disclaims any and all copyright and/or any other intellectual property interest in the work undertaken by you in the course of your employment. Additionally, the authority waives its rights under s.11(2) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48) (as amended) to be identified as the author of any work produced by you capable of ownership, and affirms that this statement is an “agreement to the contrary” for the purposes of s.11(2).
Thanks in advance
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi fgs,
This is mainly a problem rellating to employment and contract law which I am reluctant to advise you on here. Perhaps another member can help. If not, it is something the Citizen's Advice Bureau could help with.
However I did just want to comment on the wording of your proposed amendment to the contract of employment. You are right to identify the requirement for the employer to waive any right under s.11, but irrespective of who is the owner of copyright, the author remains the person who creates the work (ie you), and the moral right to be credited as the author cannot be assigned (s.94). In certain circumstances you might wish to assert your moral right to be credited as the author of a work you produce while working for the authority, for instance if you produced a report which might be valuable for your professional reputation (cf academics publishing papers in learned journals).
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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