7 Nov 2000 (updated 7 Nov 2000) »
One of the reasons I’ll probably never bother going overseas to work is that I have an unbelievably good lifestyle that is appreciably better than some of my friends who live in San Francisco (or the wider Bay area) and earn at least twice as much as me (even given the parlous state of the Australian peso) using normalized USD.
I live in a beautiful city, with great weather (except when it rains, which is frequently) (and except during summer when the humidity sucks 🙂 It’s cheap to fly back to my home city, Melbourne, which is everything Sydney is not: cosmopolitan, 24×7, great cinemas, fantastic shopping, easy to live in, much cheaper housing, traffic jams that last about an hour, and so on…
darsal: human rights and your right to work on open source
If you’ve signed a contract prohibiting your labor on any other activity, that contract is in contravention of
The universal declaration of human rights
Labor laws in your country
Competition laws or Trade Practices acts usually bar this type of contract (non-compete clauses are illegal in Australia under the TPA, and in the US, contracts with long (more than a few weeks) non-compete have already been struck down
Any laws in your area allowing you freedom of association
It’s like saying that a company owns you, and they have access to you 24×7, which is clearly not true. This is clearly not allowed, and most countries have provisions to protect their citizens from exploitative contracts such as this.
The ridiculous analogy is this: if the company claims that you cannot work on OSS projects on your hardware at your house in your time, then they can stop employees being scout masters or providing services to volunteer organisations like Amnesty International on Candle Day. They can’t do that, so fuck them.
Short answer: as long as you are sensible, this will never come up. I work in security architecture. As long as I do not work in their time for anyone else or for myself in this field in my time, my company will never win any court case they bring against me. I don’t blab about stuff I see in my day to day work, I honor my NDA’s, and I do my work well (sometimes impinging on my time). But my open source and out of hours activity is MINE. I own those copyrights as my employer has NO right to them.
Stick up for your rights. Never be led to believe that you don’t possess any in a contract situation. Contracts that violate laws of your country or seek to override your rights or obligations to the country in which the contract is framed are illegal, and always will be. For example, it’s illegal to contract someone to commit murder. It’s illegal to contract someone to be present at a site when they are required to do jury service in Australia.
The problem is that court cases cost $$$$$$ and often it’s simpler to give in, which is the wrong thing to do.
SAGE-AU have finished working on something for this, and will be announced at AOSS2 late this month. See you there.