Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

27 Replies - 1859 Views - Last Post: 17 December 2016 - 06:10 AM

#1 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 01:44 AM

Hi,

I'm posting this topic as I'm having a moral dilemma and hoping that you guys can help.

I left a previous company as I wanted to start providing software as a company service myself, and it would have been a conflict of interest if I was to stay.

When I departed, I copied some of the source code I had worked on with the intention of using it purely as a reference.

After recently having ISO training, I have become more aware that taking a copy of source code even if you're not directly using it, can become a problem.

So, I have deleted it so that I have no reference to it and the code I have in my own current project (which I intend to commercialise at some point) I have made changes so that the code and structure is very different, I have not copied any code at all (even though I would argue that coding habits are influenced by previous work environments and learning their standards anyway).

I guess I'm trying to clear my conscience. I wouldn't want to start any company services knowing that I could be bitten in the **** in time to come.

Any thoughts?

Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

#2 Nitewalkr  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover

Reputation: 149
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,045
  • Joined: 17-November 10

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 01:50 AM

Depends, if the agreement (which you probably signed) specifies that whatever code that you have provided to that company for their product/services, belongs to that company, than you can not directly use that.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 01:54 AM

Thanks for your reply.

Now that I have deleted it then, am I in the clear to start my own company services? As I wouldn't want to start on shakey grounds.

Cheers.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 depricated  Icon User is offline

  • Nero


Reputation: 2351
  • View blog
  • Posts: 6,034
  • Joined: 13-September 08

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:12 AM

I'd say as long as you don't have a copy of the source you're good. There's nothing wrong with using what you learned, or employing the coding habits that were drilled into you (well, that's a different topic if they're bad coding habits). Did you sign a non-compete with your former company? That should only apply to the industry they're in, but might be relevant.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:27 AM

I think I did, I can't remember the exact terms within the contract but I'm certain they own the code I wrote. I did sign a non-compete which prevents me from starting anything within 12 months from my leave date.

I know I shouldn't have copied the code over to my memory stick, but I did it purely with the intention of referencing my old work (their work, I know).

I guess I'm just worried that the act of copying files across to my memory stick on my last day could be incriminatin, even though I haven't used any and I have now deleted it completely.

Maybe I'm over thinking it (I tend to) but I am almost ready to startup on my own and I don't want to start out on a negative tone.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 maceysoftware  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover
  • member icon

Reputation: 350
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,508
  • Joined: 07-September 13

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:51 AM

A few points I want to make here.

It is most likely wrong, however quite a few developers do it as just like you they want to be able to use there previous work as reference point.

Are you going into the same industry as your old company? if so, has it been a year since you left? otherwise your not ready to start your new company as your non-compete is stopping you.

Quote

copying files across to my memory stick on my last day could be incriminating


On your last day did you go into the office and wave your memory stick in the air, with a evil laugh and shouting "Now you can't stop me re-using your code" or did you just quietly copy the files to your memory stick like a sane and normal person.

My point being can they prove you took the files, in the first place? I mean seeing as you are worried about their code source I am guessing your going into the same industry or you have quite similar design aspects as their software. There has to be some sort of reason why your asking this.

Until you making this thread no one knew you had the code right? I guess if your previous company sore something and said "OMG that looks so similar to our, and then find this thread and could link your account to you" (which most likely wouldn't be hard) then this thread is basically a confession of the theft of intellectual property. (In my opinion, I am in no way a lawyer!)

I guess it would also depend on if your company uses something like this too:

http://www.dynamikod...security-suite/

This post has been edited by maceysoftware: 16 December 2016 - 06:48 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2363
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,491
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 07:17 AM

I have code from previous employers all over the place, some of it is still in repo's I use, doesn't mean anything to me, and I have it for reference on how I tackled an issue previously.


Your biggest issue, will be if you are competing with the previous employer. Other than that, the front end need not have the same overall function and look of someone else's. The backend code, is impossible to view until lawyers are involved and at that point the cost even if innocent will bury you.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#8 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 07:51 AM

In terms of the UI I have bought a 'theme' containing the html/css to speed up development. They also did this, but I have purchased a different theme.

I am not out of the non-compete yet. My contract prevents me from offering 'custom software development' but I would be offering soecifically business operations software (one of the things they did along side other types of projects - they essentially offered everything a customer would want).

So the line is thin. As I have purchased a UI and I have deleted any of their code I previously had, I hope that would be enough to avoid any complications down the road.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2363
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,491
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 07:57 AM

If you are still under the non-compete, I would savor the time and hammer out some useful shit; UI, backend, data-model, wherever you think the previous employer was lacking. Take that knowledge and make a better product! Just keep a lid on it until you can actually make it fruitful.


For instance, I know of some members on my team that are developing software components that are similar to what the company offers. They take the idea and make a better product that the company and others can access when they are ready to move forward.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#10 jimblumberg  Icon User is online

  • member icon

Reputation: 5360
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16,735
  • Joined: 25-December 09

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 08:04 AM

Quote

My contract prevents me from offering 'custom software development'

This looks like a a slippery slope to me unless you have a solution that fits all. If you have to make any changes to the software to make it work for even one of your customers, you're doing "custom software development".

You need to carefully read and clearly understand your non-compete agreement and you may even want to seek the advice of consul.

Quote

I can't remember the exact terms within the contract but I'm certain they own the code I wrote. I did sign a non-compete which prevents me from starting anything within 12 months from my leave date.


Proceeding without knowing the terms could be quite a problem. You need to see about digging up the documentation that you signed.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#11 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

  • Professor Snuggly Pants
  • member icon

Reputation: 6584
  • View blog
  • Posts: 30,739
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 08:41 AM

View Postjimblumberg, on 16 December 2016 - 10:04 AM, said:

Quote

My contract prevents me from...


... and you may even want to seek the advice of consul.

Bingo.

This is where contractors always fail. They hope for the best, the world is flowers, & peaceful, & everyone wins. Until it doesn't, & then suddenly the other side are jerks & just out to make a buck.

You're in the adult, business world. lawyer up.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:06 AM

I don't think a lawyer would be necessary as I am waiting out the 12 month period?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#13 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

  • Suitor #2
  • member icon



Reputation: 13666
  • View blog
  • Posts: 54,541
  • Joined: 12-June 08

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:10 AM

I believe the point was if you are uncertain about your non compete then actually _DIG_ _UP_ the paper work, read it, get clear on it, and if there are questions go seek out a lawyer. Making plans around a fuzzy/hypothetical echo remember of a noncompete seems silly. Get the actual doc and get an actual foundation.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 Brummy  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 0
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 25-June 15

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:19 AM

Thank you for all the replies. I think the topic has gone slightly side tracked, but I do appreciate all of the advice given.

I will be waiting for until the 12 month period to be over, I don't mind doing that. My query really is whether I can get in trouble for copying code despite never using it and having now deleted it. My own source code would prove to be different too, if I ever had to provide it.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • member icon

Reputation: 2363
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,491
  • Joined: 03-December 12

Re: Referencing source code - Is this wrong?

Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:33 AM

The mere fact that you mentioned it on an open forum isn't good. Depending on where you are, yes you could get into trouble for taking code that belonged to a previous employer, regardless of the reason why. It is the same as walking out with a computer under your arm. Now, if they choose to do anything about it, that depends on their resources and how much they are willing to say they lost due to the theft.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2