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Protecting IP rights

By Newby Programmer ·
I am currently working a non-programming job and one aspect is data entry. We have to take information (about 17-20 characters) from one application to another, and until my program all by hand.

I wrote a macro and a wrapper application that feeds this information into the second program automatically, freeing about 10-20 seconds of data entry.

The company became aware of this when they changed the second program and got complaints from the users that it made my program harder to use.Here is where it gets interesting: They called me aside in a private meeting, and told me that it would be deleted from all computers that have it because of security concearns. My guard was highened because at this time they called it a "problem"and said it would not be used unless they could have the source.

This is where I asked (they never offered anything) for compensation. They then mentioned leagal issues of their running an application that they did not develop. They had hard copies of my electronic communication that advised users on how to use it.

The meeting ended with "We will have to talk to HR about compensation, and will talk to you later."

My next move is to have the source notarized and I have basic knowledgeof copyright law. My goal is to be compensated for the code's fair worth, and hopefully a position with the company that matches my interests as a programmer. Any tips on what I should do to help preserve my rights?

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Update: Important lessons learned

by Newby Programmer In reply to Protecting IP rights

The next day, I had my meeting with HR. I told them that since I worked on the application on my own time (about a 20 hours to develop) and with my own resources, that I should be compensated for my time.

They said no.

So as far as I see it, my outcomes are getting paid or not getting paid. Their outcomes are benefiting from the program or not. Ideal solution would be that I get paid and they use it. Instead, what occurred is that I have lost the value of 20 hours of work, and they have banned my program from the system.

The result teaches me two important lessons:
(1) Managment can result in the worst possible outcome.
(2) I am working for an corporation that is afraid to pay its workers for their work.

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