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August 21, 2006

Swimming in treacle ....

The closer I get to the actual date of falling off this particular perch, the more work seems to find its way onto my desk "for your urgent attention before you go!" The net result seems to be that if I can't leave before I have finished all the tasks currently in the pile - I'll still be here when I hit my 100th never mind my 60th! The really tricky part is that I am not able to take time out to sort out a couple of things I need to do before my departure so that I can actually start to work for myself. And then there is a little issue surrounding intellectual property ......

Funny thing that one. Especially when you consider that the reason I do what I do, and was employed to do it in the first place, is that I came with a background of experience in a particular set of fields and the knowledge to support it. My employer has benefited from that and paid me to share that knowledge and experience, but, now they have decided they no longer need me, are trying to say that they own both the knowledge and the experience and a copyright on it! This is not the first time it has been attempted and I have no doubt it will not be the last, my problem is that, having been one of their technical authors for more than ten years there is very little that I have not, at some stage, prepared some material on for them. Ergo, my style of writing, expression and references are stamped all over it - and anything I write in future will look a lot like it! A look at the copyright law as it is written and interpretted at the moment tells me that I have two choices, risk being sued or take a job as a shelf packer in the local supermarket and make no attempt to use my knowledge and skills for my own profit. There is a third option - one I regard as downright immoral - pay my former employer a "License" fee to use my own knowledge and experience!

Now I do know that I am very far from being alone in this predicament and I am equally aware that it is something which is not in the interests of the politicians, civil servants or corporate boardrooms to allow it to be sorted out. They all have their reasons for blocking, delaying or simply philibustering to make sure the law as it stands doesn't change - after all "intellectual property" is the one thing which could bring them all down since they have none of their own, they must needs rely on the law to steal it from those who have. Fortunately I have discovered that there are ways to beat the beasts - and I shall explore these as soon as I am out of the treacle mine!

And I have found a way to get the jobs off my desk. It's called an Industrial Skip.

Posted by The Gray Monk at August 21, 2006 10:12 AM

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The Gorse Fox can sympathize. Starfleet has one of the largest portfolios of IP and patents in the world. Virtually everything the Gorse Fox thinks (related to IT or business) is their property.

However, GF believes that this ends when he retires. (And to be fair to Starfleet, they are very good at encouraging us to publish in our own names and reap the rewards).

Posted by: Gorse Fox at August 21, 2006 11:32 AM

I share your view, which is why I am committing as little as possible of my intellect to anything that could be copyrighted by Whitehall and their minions. Once I retire the flood gate opens.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at August 21, 2006 10:55 PM

...and they wonder why all government policies are just warmed over remnants of old ideas...

Posted by: The Postulant at August 22, 2006 11:31 AM