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Ownership Question..who Owns A Site?


Sarah

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I designed a website for the company I work for... it's not officially up and running yet but will be soon. I've also designed a custom database-driven app that our company will be using for day-to-day work. That is not officially up and running yet either.

 

My question is: who officially owns these works? I worked on them during my work day and got paid for it, but I dont work for the computer dept at work.

 

If I were to leave the company, either before or after these were put into effect, would I be able to say they are my property, or are they the company's?

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My opinion, the company you are doing the work for would own the work.

 

If you are being paid to do the work and do not have a contract that you own what ever it is you are working on then it would belong to the person paying you to do the work.

Edited by TCH-Bruce
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Am I allowed to use these on my resume as my own, and put my name as the designer on the sites also?

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I would think you could use them on a resume as long as you did not sign a non-disclosure agreement. As for putting you name as the designer on the sites, that would have to be agreed upon by who ever you are doing the work for. Again, just my opinion. ;)

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The required disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. If you really want to use the material, you should seek the advice of one.

 

That said, since I often do various levels of consulting in addition to having a full time job, my understanding is this:

 

Any work you perform for a company while being paid by the company and/or using company resources, is property of that company unless you have an explicit contract that says otherwise. Any use or reuse of that work outside of that company, you would have to get approval for.

 

I believe Bruce is right in the sense that if it's a public site, putting up screenshots of it in a portfolio would be perfectly acceptable. If it's a private site, that becomes a bit of a grey area and you should probably seek permission from the company (if that's something you were in the position to do).

 

Having functioning copies of the site or database app for your portfolio also is something that legally is probably not allowed. You would be much safer with screenshots and descriptions of what you did. Just make sure that you aren't divulging any company intellectual property when you describe the work and what it was for.

 

Anyway, someone who actually does design or development work and has more experience with portfolios may have more to add.

Edited by TCH-MikeJ
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You should look up "work for hire".

 

This is quite commonly discussed in photography.

 

Generally, a photographer has the right to display his work as promotion, even if it's work for hire under a contract. IE, even though the copyright does not belong to the creator of the work.

 

But creating a confidentiality breach situation would not be to your advantage anyway, right? You still work there...

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This subject sure is coming up alot lately :(

 

As others have said, talk with a lawyer and talk with your company for permission.

 

Am I allowed to use these on my resume as my own, and put my name as the designer on the sites also?
You can say anything you want on a resume as long as its true. Claiming you designed something does not goes against a copyright. As far as putting your name as the designer on the site is up to the company. Do they want it there?

 

My question is: who officially owns these works?

 

With the information you supplied...the company.

 

If I were to leave the company, either before or after these were put into effect, would I be able to say they are my property, or are they the company's?

 

Does not matter if its an active site or just sitting on a CD somewhere, it belongs to the company.

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Another example:

 

Let's say you work on a project while at work in your spare time or whatever, and the project is in no way related to the company. You are using your own ideas, and create a brilliant new program related to time travel while working as a computer clerk at Wal-Mart.

 

Who own's this program that YOU created? Wal-Mart does!

 

Don't do ANY work on company time or property that you would like to keep for yourself!!! Do it at your own house.

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Just another echo here. If you were asked to create this work while on the salary of the company and used their computers to do it then without a signed contract to the contrary it belongs to them. That's why moonlighters have to be careful what they do at their day job.

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