Posted on 2009-06-28
Hi everyone I wonder if anyone could help me with a little legal problem I have come across. I have been employed by a group of companies on the books over the last several years. My roles and responsibilities were never really given to me in a formal job description. My letter of appointment merely stated I was to be the groups IT engineer taking care of their day to day IT needs. This I have done covering machine and software based repairs including training where required. As I progressed I became more interested in Office for developers and visual basic and as such trained myself through reading, night school and this excellent site to be able to write the odd application or two that are in day to day use within the group. No input was given in my training by the company. My question is if I were to leave the groups employ do I own the copyright to my applications? I have had varying advice from different people and have tried to find the answer in IT law but am struggling. The office developer and visual basic enterprise packages I used to produce my work were both purchased personally by me and as such I had the license to redistribute. Again the group would not invest in the software as I was not employed to develop. I have also progressed to writing and maintaining their websites which was also beyond my original remit. The reason I am asking the question is that the group is now looking to outsource my job to cut costs. One further point that may have a bearing is that I did insert a license screen that had to be agreed before use of any new install by the user. It stated that the software was licensed on a WORK LICENSE which was defined as free use of my software while I was still under the groups employ. This was done more to make the product look professional than to resolve a dispute but thought it may have a bearing.
Thank you in advance.