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Who owns the code?

tomhudson (43916) writes | more than 3 years ago

The Courts 31

Update: Since the dummy has continued to refuse to acknowledge that he owes anything for the work I did on the lastest code revision, I've replied that I'm removing that claim. That makes the code mine free and clear, no questions asked. Of course, in reviewing my situation, I also noticed that since he obtained my services via fraudulent inducement to employment, I'm adding a claim for that, as well as for personal injury. Update: Since the dummy has continued to refuse to acknowledge that he owes anything for the work I did on the lastest code revision, I've replied that I'm removing that claim. That makes the code mine free and clear, no questions asked. Of course, in reviewing my situation, I also noticed that since he obtained my services via fraudulent inducement to employment, I'm adding a claim for that, as well as for personal injury.

He's also saying I'm damaging his reputation with his clients. Especially the same client who was eady to sue him into bankruptcy a few weeks ago, until I did the 70-hour stint he now refuses to even admit he owes. And I'm not happy with him putting the blame on me for his mess-ups.

Good thing we don't have a non-disclosure or a non-compete agreement. I just reminded him of that. Bounce my paychecks, endanger my health, lie to clients, no judge is going to say I owe you continued loyalty. Shove it, Alex.

My now-former boss refused to pay for the extra hours I spent fixing up code last week - code that is based on my GPL'd web framework.

This, of course, is on top of his failure to pay anything for 4 weeks previous (a nice bounced paycheck, etc),

Now, if he had at least made a pretense of paying for last week's coding, he *might* have a claim to it, but it seems to me that obtaining something under false pretenses is pretty much outright fraud. He simply has no claim to an interest in it, since he denies he has to pay for it.

Which leaves me with a "situation." My code is being run, unlicensed. Large portions are not GPL (since I'm the author, I have the right to do this, and many of the modifications wouldn't be of interest to the community anyway, since they're customizations for that one client).

What a mess. I don't believe the customer has the right to use the code, since I placed it on the server under false pretenses - but it's not the customers' fault, and they shouldn't have to suffer because of it. At the same time, my former boss has no right to profit from it, either by billing for it, or by charging a monthly maintenance fee.

I'm going to have to think a bit about this one ... but not too long. By the time I go to bed for the evening, I'll know what my next steps are, though any advice in the meantime is appreciated.

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Lawsuit (1)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35096074)

Fraud, fraud by check, hostile work environment, physical and emotional damages - the customer is an unfortunate victim of your former bosses' actions, but you've stated it: As you've not been paid for it, they have no right to it. Possession of stolen property is about as close as I can define it.
Glad you're finally going into business for yourself, although I like mine better: I never have to worry about (literal!) bleeding eyeballs. ;-)

Re:Lawsuit (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35097798)

I'll add to that:

* breach of contract
* theft of services
* hostile work environment (as you mentioned)
* copyright infringement
* intent to defraud

Sue the bastard into oblivion, then take a well-deserved break and focus on your health.

Re:Lawsuit (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35098648)

Thanks for the input. We're almost on the same wavelength.

I want to differentiate between my former boss and the customer.

The way I see it, my former boss simply doesn't have any legal right to the changes to the code made in the last week, because he has refused outright to pay for the full time worked to produce them. This is aside from the previous 4 weeks (2 pay periods).

Obviously I've been very patient, trying to make sure the customers' needs were met despite how my former boss was treating me. Of course, being called unprofessional by either of them in such circumstances is more than a bit galling, but I guess their idea of a "professional" and "ethical" doesn't include treating others the way you'd want to be treated.

Or, more likely, the boss was putting the blame for everything on me. That will be hard going forward, because, unlike the work that was produced when he was meddling in the process, they're very happy with the work I did last week , and he let the cat out of the bag when he told them it was because I was now working from home.

The fact that my home setup is more conducive to work (awesome screens, better lighting, etc) plays a large part in that, as obviously does the fewer distractions and interruptions, and that I am the one setting the priorities and the work-flow.

But back to the question at hand - the code written in the last week, as far as I can see, is mine. And EVERY file was modified during that review. It was a major rewrite. And my former boss's refusal to pay for the full time it required (not that he's paid even a penny of it) means that he simply isn't entitled to it. Especially since there had already been serious breaches of the employment agreement - all by him.

Now, if the code hadn't been rewritten, there could be some question of the rights of the customer to it, but that simply isn't the case. And it's easy enough to see - I can always install a previous version and watch it break, because I had to make changes to the database as well. Queries won't be the same, obviously.

I'm going to walk the dogs in a bit, watch Big Bang Theory and BLEEP My Dad Says, then see how a draft notice to the client outlining the situation and saying that they do not have a license to continue to use the code in question, need to come to some sort of licensing agreement asap, etc.

There's another aspect. One of my former co-workers told me about how, when he was negotiating his work contract (he's also quit, btw), he was assured that he could take all the time he needed off for medical reasons, either for himself or to take care of family. He found this to be a real contrast to my situation, where I couldn't even take time off to get my haemorrhaging eye looked at for weeks. The only response I had was sexual discrimination. It's a lot more rampant in the industry than we want to admit, and it shows up in ways you wouldn't expect.

Re:Lawsuit (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099102)

I fyou decide you're going to sue for ownership of the code, I would write up the complaint, file it, and then contact the customer atatching the filed complaint. True, they're the ones who will be hosed, but it's also leverage. You can also let them know that you want to work things out with your previous employer as soon as possible so they are not left in the lurch, but your boss left you no choice. It would, I think, force a settlement in your favor sooner rather than later.

Good luck! Also, it has been my experience that some of the greatest epiphanies have come whilst walking the puppy-dogs :-)

Re:Lawsuit (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35099918)

Thanks, and you're absolutely right. I'm sending a takedown notice to him, and bcc'ing the company.

Subject: Notice of copyright violation and cease and desist of same

To: [redacted],

February 3rd, 2011



WHEREAS: You are hosting files that collectively are known as the [redacted] Loyalty Program at []

WHEREAS: I am the exclusive creator and author of those files, with the exception of graphics.php. I am also the exclusive creator, designer, and maintainer of the underlying database.

WHEREAS: You have not only not paid for these files; you have not paid me anything since the first week of January, and bounced the one paycheck I tried to deposit since then.

WHEREAS: you have specifically disclaimed your obligation to pay the amount owing for the time that I spent (70 hours between Wednesday and Sunday) on the last update.

WHEREAS: Your other actions, such as refusing to pay for overtime legally owed, refusing to pay additional compensation for working Christmas or New Years as required by law, your reneging on the agreement to up my pay after Christmas once the trial period was completed, and your latest attempt, to convert me to a freelance contract employee, are both separately and collectively acts of constructive dismissal and a repudiation of our employment agreement by you.

WHEREAS: Your hosting the aforementioned Moroccanoil files and the latest version of the database without compensation is a violation of my rights as the author;

THEREFORE: I demand that you delete the application from your server immediately, as well as any and all other copies, backups, and derivatives in your possession.

FURTHER, you are not authorized to enter into any agreement with [redacted] or any other 3rd party for the use of any of my work now or in the future;

[redacted] is of course welcome to come to a licensing agreement directly with me, but until then, I will consider every day that those files are served as a separate violation of my copyrights.


Re:Lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35101010)

By all means, continue to kick ass! All we need now is a production company to option the rights to "Barb the Brave, Code Crusader!"

Re:Lawsuit (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35101822)

Thanks, but I certainly don't feel brave ... just used and abused. Disappointed. But optimistic about the future - what's the alternative, right? :-p

It's stuff like this that makes me think we need to have a professional order along the lines of civil engineers.

Re:Lawsuit (1)

pythorlh (236755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35104908)

Insufficient redaction... Your last WHEREAS wasn't redacted.

Re:Lawsuit (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35105140)

Oops - you're right. Oh well. C'est la vie. It doesn't portray them in a bad light - they're as much victims of a "bad actor" as I am.

Too bad slashdot doesn't allow me to edit posts. I guess that's what happens when you post at 4 am because the dog puked on your bed ...

It's times like that that make me kind of wish I had "normal-sized" dogs and not the "xtra-large" model.

don't take it out on the customer, do the opposite (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100138)

I don't think you own any of the code that you've written while under the auspices of your now ex-employer. The contract that might be void is between you and employer, and that's for you two to work out, and doesn't involved the employer's customer. The contract between your employer and their customer is between them, and doesn't involve you, and furthermore you didn't have a contract with their customer. So I don't think you have a leg to stand on (or in your case maybe it should be "an eye to see with"! ;) trying to get the customer to stop using the work they've in good faith contracted and maybe compensated (your employer) for. And I think it would only hurt your situation trying to expand your fight to include add'l parties. Do you want to sue/be sued by two companies instead of just one?

I'd tell customer that their vendor breached their contract with you and hasn't been paying you for your work, so you've been forced to sever ties with them, and you're sorry to have to tell customer that that means no more work will be coming on those software pkgs by you. (And you could leak the fact that all his developers have left him at this point, and that he no longer has a team to continue the project.) Then mention that, being forced out of your current job due to non-payment plus abusive conditions to the point of materially and possibly permanently detrimentally affecting your health, you and some fellow senior engineers that you've known and worked with for a long time have taken this moment to realize the long-lived dream of finally opening up a consulting business. Include that your team is not just the disgruntled former employers of your customer's vendor, and that you've never and simply do not do the kind of thing where you would seek to undermine a current employer in order to steal away a customer of theirs.

Explain that if they're happy with your work, esp. as it was when you'd worked in conditions of your own making, then you'd be happy to become their vendor and pick up the work where you left off. And due to the unfortunate circumstances that your former employer has left you and the customer in, you'd be willing to offer a discounted rate [you want the glowing reference for your new company's first project] to get the system to say a 1.0 version, since you realize it's not fair to the customer what has transacted between their vendor and its employees. But that this is purely optional, and that your former employer may try to find new developers and may be able to get their ability to serve the customer back in operation. Altho word's already out that they don't pay their bills etc., so that's prolly a "maybe".

p.s. In general, good for you! I sincerely hope you guys [meant gender-neutral] make it successful. I wish I sometimes I hadn't been so anti-social, or rather just such a private person, that I hadn't forged real relationships with uber-competent people in my field to be able to start a venture in this way.

Re:don't take it out on the customer, do the oppos (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100160)

p.p.s. Doh. IANAL, so maybe you don't want to talk about what's "fair" with the customer, or that you could've leaked information about the employer that might damage their ability to service the customer, or anything else that might open the door to them suing both the employer and the former employees. If you're gonna start a business, you prolly need to hire some legal advice anyways.

Re:don't take it out on the customer, do the oppos (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100516)

I've hired the best legal mind i know - myself :-)

Seriously, I am on solid legal ground in this case. The guy wants to claim ownership of work without paying the agreed-upon salary to the employee, and then goes further by abrogating the entire employment agreement? After multiple other violations?

No court will award him anything except a walk to the woodshed.

My actions were always taken in the best interest of the customer first, and even during multiple serious actions by the employer, in their interests over my own.

But recording our conversation last night in an attempt to get me to look like I agreed to stuff I don't agree with? Bite me!

I want my day in court. And I'll make sure it takes a whole week. I have several witnesses to be heard from if he tries anything.

Re:don't take it out on the customer, do the oppos (1)

Tet (2721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35110260)

Seriously, I am on solid legal ground in this case

I'm not so sure. He hasn't paid you for work you agreed to do for a given salary. That doesn't grant you ownership of the code, that just gives you a right to reclaim the money. Your dispute with him is over the unpaid money. Nothing more. Were you a contractor, the situation would probably be different, but as an employee, I think you're overestimating your rights here. I'm fairly sure that in the UK, a court would merely order him to pay you the money, and appoint bailiffs to collect it if necessary. I'm assuming Canada's legal system hasn't diverged too much from ours.

Re:don't take it out on the customer, do the oppos (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35111668)

Not when there's fraud involved. In this case, there was fraudulent inducement, in that we had agreed on a future increase in compensation as part of the deal, and he wouldn't have gotten the code otherwise.

You don't get to keep the fruits of your criminal acts. Just because it's white collar crime doesn't mean that I have to sit there and take it. []

The legal concept of damages isn't limited to monetary compensation. Specific performance, or restoration of that which was taken by fraud, are both avenues to be explored, but most people don't even think about it - they just assume that all you can do is sue for money.

Besides which, he has no intention of paying, or he would have accepted my offer to pay a portion now, work out a payment schedule for the balance, and figure out how to move forward. 3 different days in a row he promised to show up with a certified check for part of the money owed. 3 days it didn't happen.

And now he want me to believe that he can write a check for double that, to cover part of what he owes?

I'm no longer buying any of his lies, and I'm asserting my ownership rights, not as a former employee, but as a victim of fraud. If he doesn't like it, let him sue me. He'll lose.

Re:don't take it out on the customer, do the oppos (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100488)

I've let the customer know that it's not about them - to the contrary, that I've bent over backwards to avoid the problems impacting them, but it can't go on this way.

As for my ex-employer .... well, he's already both saying he'll be here tomorrow morning with two certified checks (but they're for the wrong amount, so I told him that was unacceptable) and threatened legal action (I told him go ahead, anyone can sue for anything, and I welcome the chance to both put it all on the record, and haul his partner in for questioning in discovery)

Legally? ...You buy a car. The car was stolen. You lose the car.

Same with houses. You buy a house. Someone else shows up with a better claim to the title. You lose the house.

In both cases, you have recourse against the vendor, but you can't retain the goods in question "because you paid for them". This would legitimize buying stuff that "fell off the back of a truck" or from a fence.

So I believe that the last set of changes, which he specifically refused to pay the full time for, or the agreed-upon base salary for, is mine, since he refused to pay for them. He can't commit multiple breaches of the employment contract, then say it's work for hire, if he outright refused to pay.

So the customer needs to take out a license with me, and I'll let them know during any discussions that I have several other programmers who are willing and eager to continue working with me and with any customer who deals directly with me, of that I'm willing to help negotiate deals and provide oversight and guidance if they want to deal with one of them directly.

Because let's face it ... he doesn't have any legal claim to that last set of changes, and it affected EVERY file, plus the underlying database. The portions I put under the GPL v2, he can use. The custom mods, forget it charlie brown.

From a practical point of view, it doesn't really matter. The customer was already ready to walk, and had said so. If they walk to me, he has only himself to blame. No judge is going to have much sympathy for a boss who won't let someone take time off to get their eye that's bleeding because of work stress looked at, and then adds insult to injury by bouncing their pay checks.

And when he asks his lawyer, she will probably tell him the same thing.

Of course, he could ask for a temporary injunction - but that presents a few problems of its own. I'd challenge it, and in any claim for an injunction he has to put down the "potential damages" - which I will just claim back as MY damages from his mis-appropriation of my work.

Until late this morning, I was ready to negotiate something half-way. But today was yet another day when the promised certified check never arrived. Again.

Oh, did I mention the worst part? He recorded our conversation yesterday, ostensibly so that there would be no misunderstanding about the changes the customer was now asking for,

I didn't fall of the turnip truck. When he said he was going to change our agreement to one where I work on a freelance basis, I kept my mouth shut, then emailed him telling him that while he said he would be doing that, I never agreed to it, and that way yet another breech of our agreement. And I hope he introduces that recording, because it makes it clear he only wanted to pay for 40 of the 70 hours I did to get him out of the latest jam, that the customer was very happy with the new work, and that he tried to do something totally illegal.

He's a slimeball.

I sometimes think about ... (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100728)

trying to strike out on my own and stuff.

But the current 36h15min a week and regular paycheck keeps hitting me with a clue stick. And gives me time to have a life.

Having worked in an abusive environment for much better pay, I think the choice while not hard isn't easy.

Working for the government/large bueracracy has its advantages as above. If the work was interesting I wouldn't be moving by choice. As it is I can't get a permanent position in this role so have to keep looking as I think our flood/cyclone induced budget cuts will bite deep. They are already asking across government for 3,500 volunteers for voluntary redundancy. I think I heard the stampede.

I would like to do more interesting work, but the many of the employers are assholes and I have a low tolerance for bullshit. Did send of an application about an hour ago - written while excel grinds away - for a permanent job with government.

While I think it is important to extract your cash & code from the places it is hiding, have you thought twice about your plan for the future? Weigh it up against the option of a regular (if smaller) paycheck if one can be found and say 12 months of low stress.

Re:I sometimes think about ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35101848)

I'm going to be opting for quality of life. I don't mind doing long hours for stuff I believe in, but throwing me impossible deadlines are a sign of someone who doesn't know how to plan, or even what they're doing.

So I'm no longer enabling him to screw me over, because after a certain point, that's what it became. I could have contacted the customer last week, explained the situation, and worked out a deal. In retrospect, I gave him at least 2 chances too many. But then again, there's a reason hindsight is 20-20.

Oh well, today is going to be a busy day, so I'm going to grab a couple hours of sleep. Thanks for the support. It's appreciated - from all of you!

What were you (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35104616)

Contractor? It's a work for hire, and you can revoke the code if it wasn't paid for. Just take it, it's yours.

Employee? The code is irrelevant. It's your bosses, not yours. But that doesn't change the fact that it's against the law for your employer to not pay you for work you've done. I don't think you even need a lawyer. Call the right government agency and he'll be in hot water over his head.

Neither? I'll fuck his dog for $500, film it, and give you the rights. On a good site, that'll earn you far more than you are owed.

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35104986)

Once the employment contract is breached by him, he can no longer rely on it to make a claim of ownership. Especially since he hasn't even ATTEMPTED to pay me for that week - in fact, even today, while this morning he says he will pay for the first 4 weeks of January by certified check, at the proper rate of pay, he again refused to address the question of pay for that last week. He doesn't want to because there's 40 hours of straight time, 15 hours of time and a half, 15 hours of double time, and 10 hours of double time and a half. And now that I'm asking for that pay as part of a compensatory damages payment, and not salary owed. As damages, it leaves the code in my hands, not his.

He also continues to cling to be belief that when someone quits because of constructive dismissal, that's it. He's ignorant of the law, which requires that you either quit or otherwise make it VERY clear that the situation is unacceptable - but that quitting ASAP is the preferred way. If you don't, your employer is allowed to assume that you find the situation unacceptable.

If you don't want to quit, but still find it unacceptable, you have to send the occasional notice to someone who you assume is in charge saying as much, or state in person to your supervisor or other management critter in the chain, to preserve your rights.

And that's what I did. I quit the next day when he tried to claim in an email that I had agreed to change from a salaried employee to a contractor. Totally illegal without my consent, especially since it would have reduced my net.

You're not entitled to benefit from fraud - and the agreement was that he would pay a certain salary up until Christmas on condition that it be increased by $15k per year after Christmas. He broke that deal, so like anything else, if you don't pay it completely, you don't own it. Paid only half your car or house? They take back the whole car, not half. It's the same here. I have a solid claim of ownership of every line of code I wrote because of his fraud in obtaining my services. He had SO many chances to come to some sort of reasonable settlement. He didn't, and it was in reviewing the situation that I noticed this. "Sweet!" as my nephew would say.

It's one of the things I'm going to demand at the hearing - that my previous pay be grossed up to the full amount as part of the damages, and that as additional damages I be awarded clear title to all my code, not just the parts I GPL'd, because he should not benefit from fraud, any more than a thief should be able to avoid jail time because they paid you only after they got caught.

(yes, you can ask for these sort of things at the government hearing - it's not just about pay, but also damages and specific performance to adequately compensate for those damages).

None of this had to happen. He brought it on himself. And I'm apparently not the only one going after him for this sort of crap.

Re:What were you (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35105640)

Fraud brings an extra burden of proof, beyond the fact that he hasn't paid you. If you can prove it, then that would be great.

Another option - changing you into a contractor can be a problem. The IRS has a very specific definition of a contractor. You can make his life miserable with a phone call.

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35106090)

Earlier today one of his emails accidentally provided the confirmation I need that he did everything I've alleged. I guess all those years of trolling paid off :-)

I now have all the proof I need that he obtained my services by fraudulent inducement. At this point, if we go to a hearing, not only does he lose on the pay issues, but also on the code ownership issues, since I will ask for everything that was done to be "undone" to the maximum extent possible, so that he does not benefit from his fraudulent activities.

Re:What were you (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35115876)

I am looking forward to reading your account of the court date. I love the read a story where the bad guy gets what's coming to them.

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35116118)

I'm sure there'll be plenty of action before then :-)

He was really stupid. He didn't want to pay overtime for the 70 hours, so instead he tried to convert me to a contract worker - retroactively. That doesn't work, and that's when I quit. So now he has a problem.

As you point out, if I'm a contract worker, if I don't get paid, he doesn't get the code. That he tried to do it retroactively is even worse ... it's breech of the employment contract and constructive dismissal.

I've given him several opportunities to offer to pay for the full 70 hours, but he has consistently refused. He only wanted to pay for 40. Now, if I were an employee, there's no question, he'd have to pay overtime - time and a half, double time, double time and a half ... it's why he wanted to switch me to being a contractor. This way, at most he'd only be obliged (in his mind) to pay straight time. As a contractor, though, I would have set a MUCH different rate than he offered - and tacked on performance premiums.

Of course, once I quit, that was it. And with no non-compete agreement, and no non-disclosure agreement (I know, what an amateur ...), and no pay for the last month, and the bounced paycheck, and that he obtained my earlier work via fraudulent inducement, he simply doesn't have a leg to stand on.

It's a mess, but one of his own doing.

and now it gets funny

Funny as in "WTF???"

Before I did the 70-hour stint, Alex told me that the client was ready to walk, they were fed up, and Alex said that the ceo, [redacted] has lawyers who would not only put his business under, but him and me as well. Me??? I am not a shareholder in any of his businesses. I did nothing illegal (unlike him - his billing practices are "interesting" - in at least one case I know of). I did nothing unethical. To the contrary, I tried to deliver despite his messing things up, overwork, and not being able to see out of one eye because of the stress.

It was only when I worked from home between Wednesday and Saturday that I was able to, in a 70-hour marathon coding session, work the way *I* work, and they were happy with the results.

But I'm not happy with his bad-mouthing me to save his own skin. And I'm not happy with his BS in trying to get the code without paying the full amount, or trying to change my job description retroactively to avoid again not paying overtime.

But he's crying that I'm ruining his reputation, because I went to the customer with the truth rather than let him blame me.

So I emailed him earlier today:

Actually, to clarify, what you said was that [redacted] would sue [redacted], AND you, AND me, and totally destroy us.

... which brings up another point - you can't be trusted to protect your employees. I don't own any shares in your business - why should I, or anyone else, take the fall for your mismanagement?

Because let's be honest - you simply don't know how to manage people, or software projects. Your idea of "creativity" for 770 was to steal the whole look and feel of citydeals - the layout, the colors, the contents. I told you, you can't do that. It's copyright infringement. But every time you see something on the web, you change your ideas for the design, causing more delay and mistakes. That's not design. That's "monkey see, monkey do".

You need t step back and ask yourself what you should be doing with your life, because this is not going to work. You've already caused a lot of damage, both to yourself and to others. Is it worth it?

When it gets to the point that your (now former) boss is setting you up to take the fall, AND cheat you out of your work, the only thing to do is lay it all at the customer's feet, and let them make the decision. It's their money, and the customer is always right ... even when they're wrong (because if they're wrong, you're a lousy communicator, or "iot is what it is" - move on).

I'll be documenting it (with names) when I get a chance to write it up all nice and pretty :-)

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35105638)

I'll fuck his dog for $500, film it, and give you the rights. On a good site, that'll earn you far more than you are owed.

We're negotiating. He's basically offered $5k, and I want $10 - plus all copyrights incontrovertibly owned solely by me.

The copyrights bit isn't for me - it's to remove him permanently from the "web application development" pool, and to make sure that no customer is "vendor-locked-in" to him by the code. And it only affects the code that is targeted at specific customers - the generic code I wrote under the GPL license - I just haven't had the time to bundle it up and document it half-way decently to put it out there for everyone to laugh at how stupid I can be ;-p

Actually, I *did* make a start at refactoring everything for a public generic release, and throwing in a bunch of improvements I have in mind, but you know how that goes - one improvement leads to another, and the next thing you know it's "Holy $__WHATEVER__ ... "

So maybe I'll start with the system libraries .. they're small and easy to grok.

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35105770)

Oops - $10k, not $10 ... and $10k is less than I'll get if we go for a hearing. So once he realizes that those are his only two options ...

Geeklog has had an "edit comment" feature for years. Instead of all the "oh shiny" crap, why can't they do this - just let people append corrections to their original comment. It's not that complicated.


mysql_query(sprintf("update $DB.comments set comment_txt=concat_ws('

edited at '%s'

', comment_txt, '%s') where comment_id='%d' limit 1", now(), db_unqq($added_txt), $comment_id));

Oops, my bad - they be using the perl. Well, just throw in a bunch of random characters - it'll look enough like perl to pass a slashdot code review :-)

Re:What were you (1)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35105958)

Hey now, give Perl some love. 13 years ago, it was MUCH better than PHP, and is STILL not as insecure by default as PHP enabled web servers are.

I would think, for your own health, you're better off getting a lawyer to deal with this. As your former landlord has learned, you do know what you're doing. So, use that knowledge to find someone who's on the same page as you legally, and have them pursue it.

What happened with the Landlord, anyway? Did I miss an update?

Re:What were you (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35106190)

No, you didn't miss an update. Awaiting the latest decision in the next month or so ... :-)

As for a lawyer, the commission des normes de travail supplies me one specializing in worker rights for free if it goes to a hearing, and I know what materials he or she needs to present a case. Mind you, the bounced check pretty much speaks for itself, and I have a witness or two to back up my claims. For example, we worked Christmas and New Years, but my pay check was no different than the weeks before, and they are both statutory holidays with pay or time and a half. So when he claims in an email that I was paid for those days, it's "really? show me the check."

He wouldn't pull this crap with the guys. Just like he wouldn't rip into them in public for not having an answer off the top of their head after putting in a 30-hour coding session. Or if they need time to go to the hospital or stuff, no problem, whereas I was going blind in one eye and do you think I can get enough time to even catch my breath?

So yes, I'm adding sexual discrimination to the complaint if we go to court.

Let's all try to remember (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35114692)

Let's all try to remember, as we play armchair lawyer, that Babs is under .ca jurisdiction, not .us. The former actually has these things called 'employment laws'. Crazy concept, I know.

Re:Let's all try to remember (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35114860)

Thanks for pointing that out.

Honestly, though, I think it would be the case even in the US, that if the employer flat-out refuses to pay you for the time, he doesn't have the right to say he owns your work.

He won't pay for the full 70 hours that I took to rewrite the code that week. So fine, I emailed him back today and told him that, since he doesn't want to pay for it, no problem - I've dropped that portion of my claim entirely - now REMOVE MY CODE FROM YOUR SERVER OR TAKE OUT A LICENSE.

After all, if you don't want to play by the local employment laws, how can I legally be considered an employee? And what right do you have to use my work, if I am not an employee, unless you take out a license? Or the client does ...

Of course, I've re-examined my claim in light of the original fraudulent inducement to employment, and he owes me a lot more than I had originally thought, so removing that week doesn't reduce my overall claims against him. I'm adding personal injury, for the permanent damage to my left eye.

The "thin skull" decision means that previous or underlying conditions don't matter.

For those who are not aware, 2 muggers killed a guy when they hit him on the head to rob him. They tried to argue in court that they hadn't intended to kill him - "he must have had a thin skull." The judge didn't buy it - when you break the law, you take your victim as you find him. They were convicted of murder, not manslaughter.

Yes, this is criminal, not civil, law. However, the principle that you can't escape liability when you go outside the law still applies. It's why, for example, homeowners who set deadly booby-traps for burglars are found liable. There are legal ways to resolve problems. No imminent danger? You don't have the right to use deadly force.

Re:Let's all try to remember (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35115962)

At the individual state and county level, you'll find plenty of judges who will say "tough shit" to employees and/or contractors in right to work states, particularly in the south. You'll garner more luck the further you head north, but there is always individual variance. I think the arguments and interpretation of the law would carry more weight at the appellate levels. OTOH, the Supreme Court? Who knows...

The title of this entry is the most telling, and would likely be of major concern to the court. Can't remember what the assumption in US law is.

BTW, your example can be interpreted otherwise in the case of deadly traps. The burglar broke the law and found the 'victim' (homeowner) as he found him. Tough shit for the B&E. FWIW, I think the real reason to dissuade homeowners from protecting their property thusly is to make it easier to serve warrants and effect arrests.

Re:Let's all try to remember (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35116250)

The south has a reputation of being stuck in the past ...

Then again, I think a lot of it has to do with colder weather forcing people to leave less to chance.

For example, if you end up homeless in Florida, you'll rarely freeze to death. Homeless in the Great White North, you're at a greater risk, so there's more of a safety net. Northern American states lie at the midpoint.

So I'd suggest that social safety nets, laws, etc., are strongly influenced by weather and the associated risks. This brings up the question, why did we evolve in such a way that our sense of responsibility to others is so influenced by temperature, and the answer is obvious - it ensures survival.

It's more proof that there is a genetic basis for altruism, and that evolution has given us the innate ability, IF the conditions warrant, to "give more of a s***".

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