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RE: Employers Rights to your Spreadsheets

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: William Keil [mailto:WJK(--nospam--at)brph.com]
> Sent: Friday, August 13, 1999 4:26 PM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> Subject: RE: Employers Rights to your Spreadsheets
>
>
> Strictly my opinion - my employer is paying me to perform a job - to
> structurally engineer buildings.  How I accomplish this task is at my
> discretion as a professional engineer.  As long as I complete
> the project in
> a timely manner it should not matter how any calculations or
> drawings were
> created by me.

This brings up an interesting point.

Only a few years ago, "computer software" == "large outlay of cash for
hardware to run it, purchase of software, in-house development, etc."

Today, however, even fairly complex computer solutions can be achieved with
a minimum of time and effort. The productivity surge that has resulted
really hasn't been fully documented as yet.

In fact, "computer power" is now no less commonplace or accessible than
"toaster power."

Therefore, it is almost meaningless to try to differentiate between "design
efforts" and "computer-related design efforts." I daresay that a
fully-equipped engineering workstation, complete with requisite software, is
not much more expensive today than a fully-equipped drafting table,
engineering calculator (electro-mechanical or ten-key?), set of Smoley's
tables, etc., was a few years ago.

But no draftsman would think twice, in the early eighties, when I was
starting out, of taking copies of drawings they had made with them, to show
off their work to other prospective employers, and to use as references for
future work. The "intellectual property" thereon was considered part of that
individual's legacy.

I think the attitude regarding computer-derived design aids stems from an
earlier era, when such intellectual property represented a much larger
outlay of resources than it currently does. And so I think such an attitude,
and such signed agreements, are obsolete.