Work For Hire

So it seems that David Meredith is in a predicament. He wrote some software for his employer, although he claims to have written most of it on his own time. Now that he wants to market the solution to others, his employers are claiming ownership of the project and demanding that he turn over his source code.

Eighteen months ago, the State Patrol praised trooper David Meredith for going beyond the call of duty by developing time-saving software that helps officers write traffic tickets electronically.
“Meredith is credited for accomplishing more in one year than software companies have in five years,” the State Patrol said in a press release in May 2005, when Meredith received a special honor for his work on the software.
Now, he is suing the head of the patrol, saying the state is trying to illegally seize the source code to software he developed on his own time and had hoped to market.
But the State Patrol argues that Meredith never owned the program because his bosses directed him to write it while he was on the clock. Plus, the state says it is barred by contract from developing it commercially.
The dispute erupted after Meredith told his bosses last year that he wanted to sell the product to other law enforcement agencies.

Hmmm…. sounds like I situation I could have encountered myself (but won’t).

See related Slashdot discussion here.

What do you think? Make your choice and leave a comment.

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