[TriLUG] Re: [GoLugTech] legal question
linuxr at gmail.com
Wed Mar 23 12:07:11 EST 2005
Ok, some updated thoughts.
1. First, <A BIG THANK YOU> to everyone who posted on both golug and
trilug, in response to my original post (OP). GREAT posts on this...
2. Yes some things are not as big of a deal as they seem, IOW you can
sign it with some assurance that they are not going to 'come after'
you for whatever you may create/invent/think, every breath, every
space between breath, every synapse, perceived synapse, dream, you
name it... So this conversation REALLY only applies to SPECIFIC JARGON
that is simply WAY TOO INVASIVE (Constitutionally and otherwise).
3. When I started at one job I was faced with this, but it was MUCH
more of a congenial arrangement and probably only enforceable for
duration of employment or 1 year thereafter, max. The verbiage was
MUCH more specific and not just 'anything and everything you ever do,
think, create, write' etc. type clause.
4. My specific situation is such that: a) I already have a job; b) I
can live without this one if it doesn't work out; c) the recruiter has
a fair amount invested in this negotiation; d) the client already
hired me sight unseen then met me and approved of me as well; e) They
don't want to jeopardize relations with a government entity for future
client placements and want this to go smoothly. So it is REALLY in
their best interest to make this thing happen, maybe more than mine!
How rare is that?
5. I agree, to negotiate successfully you really need to not be a
PROBLEM for them. OTOH, striking a line through some things (with
initials), is a nice user-friendly way to deal with them. Most people
don't realize they have that right -- customizing the terms of the
deal! Also I like the idea of just coming up with a nice simple
addendum to the contract and making sure it gets signed in its
entirety within a certain time frame. Steve's suggestion on the time
frame is something
6. I am glad I am in this position to bring this up, rather than the
usual over-the-barrel position of recruiters wanting me to sign my
life away WAY too early and WAY unreasonable in terms. At the VERY
LEAST it is a good solid learning experience for me and hopefully some
of you, as well. It is nice to get them to the point of having done a
lot of work, so that they are possibly more willing to work with me
than the typical throw-you-to-the-curb attitude of a lot of
7. Steve also mentioned that sometimes this drives them away and you
miss a good opportunity. Well I don't look at it as a good
opportunity if they are tyring to steal my future
works/inventions/Constitutional rights/peace of mind/*INCOME*, etc.
IOW if they are complete jerks now they will also be later.
8. Incorporating might be a good option. Even if a one person
company, it sort of evens the playing field and forces them to treat
you as a company and respect your company activities a little more,
since they have to legally interact with you as a corp.
9. Future planning is something that is quite valuable as well.
Steve's comment on that is very important. How great is an
opportunity if it limits many of your future opportunities?
10. Along those same lines, I am not one to think 'oh well I will
never invent anything'. Even if I don't have the skills this year, I
may have them five years from now! I do not want to have that kind of
assumptive pessimism! What kind of way is THAT to live? What if
Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Ken Thompson or Dennis Ritchie had said
that? Something to think about for sure!
On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 11:27:43 -0500, Steve Litt
<slitt at troubleshooters.com> wrote:
> On Wednesday 23 March 2005 07:31 am, Marc M wrote:
> > Hello:
> > I have a 'technical' question that does not involve technology
> > specifically, but I am hoping that someone on the list can help me. I
> > have an employment possibility doing Red Hat Enterprise Linux and a
> > lot of security stuff. I really want the job but they are making me
> > sign this Stalinist contract to the effect that ANYTHING now or in the
> > future (thoughts, concepts, software, plans, processes, RECORDINGS,
> > images, etc.) -- is THEIRS. You wouldn't believe it if I had time to
> > type everything. Basically I am a slave to them from now on.
> > That's right, anything NOW OR IN THE FUTURE, on the job or off. So if
> > you are configuring/writing/tweaking software all day, one would
> > <think> that you would later be liable or subject to just about
> > anything they want to claim. Think about it. Who doesn't learn and
> > grow from one job to another? Who doesn't apply
> > things/practices/habits/processes, from place A to place B?
> > I beat out every other candidate from multiple agencies with this. I
> > have come a LOOOOONG way in this process with the recruiter and I am
> > formulating a letter to the effect of 'I am sorry but I am not signing
> > my life away and if it's a dealbreaker so be it'. I also included
> > some HUGE info to show that I am interested in 'educating' these
> > recruiter types as to the restrictions they are placing on something
> > that is suppossed to be 'open'. I am beginning to conclude that some
> > people and opportunities are not worth fooling with, since they come
> > with more headaches than they are worth.
> > Does anyone know a qualified lawyer in the space of OSS that
> > understands contracts, employment, and the GPL for starters? If
> > someone can represent me in this matter I may actually be able to go
> > forward and strike through terms and conditions. And have any of you
> > run into similar situations? What did you do? Finally let me
> > underscore that this goes WAAAY beyond the typical 'trade
> > secrets'/proprietary information type verbiage, which I would consider
> > normal and reasonable under most circumstances.
> > Thanks
> > Marc
> I've read the excellent responses on both GoLUG and TriLUG, and have learned
> quite a bit of information that could prove valuable to me later on.
> One thing that was not discussed so far is the damage signing such a contract
> does to your future negotiating position. Take a noncompete or overly broad
> NDA. Sign it, and your new employer knows for certain that you cannot work
> for a competitor. When salary negotiation comes around, or when they ask you
> to work 20 extra hours delivering backup tapes, their response to the
> employee demand will be "where else are you going to go -- you can't work for
> our competitors. What will you do, drive a cab?". Let's face it -- in any
> negotiation, implicit is the employer threat of termination and the employee
> threat of jumping ship.
> The "everything you think belongs to us" clause is similar, in that they know
> anyone hiring you away from them must be ready to duke it out in court, and
> that reduces your options and thus your negotiating position.
> Reminds me of the late 80's when I worked alongside a programmer from Taiwan,
> whose greencard was sponsored by the (small) employer. She was the most
> docile employee I've ever seen, because she knew that one hard negotiation
> could send her back to Taiwan.
> When the bank account is empty and the wolf is at the door, it's all too
> tempting to just sign an abhorrent contract. Unfortunately, this usually just
> trades today's money problems for tommorrows monitary disaster, complete with
> a greatly weakened bargaining position and the spectre of casting aside all
> you've learned.
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