In recent days I have faced claims of plagiarism to which I have responded in prior posts. In these I have noted how I created documents, sometimes in a group with others and at times with clients.
It has been stated that this is an admission that will lead to liability.
The statement is that I have no rights to use these works as I was only an employee and would contractually have been bound to assign my rights. This is not the case and one where those involved clearly are talking and commenting based on assumptions.
The fact of the matter is that I was not an employee of the company, I was the founder and primary shareholder with over 75% of the shares in the company at the time.
More than this, I was informed enough to have ensured that I maintained all copyright. That is personally. My employees did not like this, but the works they created are covered in this manner. I have to attribute them for those works they created, but they do not maintain copyright in itself. They maintain author’s rights.
Copyright and plagiarism are not the same thing.
They can be related, but the theft of an idea does not always mean the theft of copy. To be theft, it also needs to be intentional. That is the intention to use without authority. This is the legal definition of intent and not that in common parlance.
I have more to follow on thins topic in coming days, but as with all things, I also need to ensure I complete my paid work.
What I did have in all contracts was a “right to use”. That is, those companies who received the works I issued could freely use and distribute those works. This is not an assignment of copyright.
I was always careful to maintain and not assign the rights to those works completely at any stage. The confusion in this I think stems from the distinction in ownership of rights. When I owned DeMorgan, contracted to the ASX, News Ltd, IBM, CSC and others, we never assigned copyright. I doubt the lawyers in these places would allow me to get away with this now, but those were the early days of the net and few used lawyers to create contracts for small jobs.
More to add and over the coming weekend I will look at posting copies of old contracts. I am amazed how others have to assume that one is an employee and was not an owner of a company. That is not a difficult fact to check.