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[ossig] Malaysian Law With Respect To Employees Who Program On Their Own Time



With respect to this FUD article:

http://www.bcs.org/BCS/Products/publishing/itnow/OnlineArchive/sep05/itnowextra/memberview.htm

It's got a lot of idiotic crap in it, so I won't comment on most of it. However one thing did attract my attention:

"A major flaw at the heart of the open source movement is the misconception that most individuals actually have the legal right to contribute their intellectual efforts to OSS projects. In most industrialized nations, intellectual property (IP) generated by an employee through the course of his or her employment legally belongs to the employer. In the UK, this is embodied in the Patents Act 1977 and the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988. Of course, if you are employed as a janitor and happen to write software in your spare time, you could argue that the IP that you are generating is entirely unconnected with your normal duties as an employee and therefore belongs to you. However, when it comes to software professionals, there is no such argument. Any software that they write, irrespective of whether it is during or outside normal working hours, legally belongs to their employer."

[Blah blah blah, lots of stupid bullshit snipped]

"So, it would appear that the only people who are actually free to participate in OSS projects are self-employed or unemployed software professionals, students and enthusiastic amateurs. Anyone else contributing to OSS projects may be unwittingly engaged in illegal activity by stealing their employer's IP. This does not square well with the altruistic image of OSS."

I don't know if that's even a correct interpretation of the UK law, but if it's true, and if similar laws exist (such in the US, would it even be constitutional?), it's kind of scary the amount of control employers want to have on workers. It amounts to a new regime of feudalism, where the "IP owners" work their "IP serfs" like dogs, and then treat them like dogs (layoffs, long hours, low wages).

Is there such a law in Malaysia? Any law experts in the audience?

-= Nur Hussein =-