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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2

    Unanswered: How can I protect the database I created from my employer?

    I currently work for a horrible company that I've just been working at because it is convenient for me while I am finishing up my schooling. The whole establishment is completely technologically illiterate. Essentially they have a paid program that prints out these stupid 8 page long reports that have all sorts of information on them. From there we used to have to hand log, and organize all of that data then do a bunch of math, and re-enter it onto another program. I was sick of doing that so on my own time I created an access database that essentially did my entire job for me. I was kind enough to let them use it and have since added all sorts of features. Now a large portion of how they do business is conducted within my database. Recently (as in the past 3 weeks) they've been treating me horribly, and are completely ungrateful for all that I do for them. I am a soon to be biochemistry & molecular biology graduate student - half of them didn't graduate high school. They place a huge workload on me because I am competent and then show me no appreciation.

    Anyways it had me thinking about ways that I could have control of the database off site. It is a relatively simple database but you do need to import an excel file every time you use it. I know that I can host it on a Sharepoint server but I read that you can't import files to it if it's online? Currently the database is stored on a drive within their VPN. I'm the only one who knows anything about the database so any changes to it would go unquestioned.

    I'm just soon to have a laboratory research position and won't need this job at all. One of these days that they're being ridiculously rude to me I'd like to be able to point out that I control the program that they do all of their business through.

    I put a lot of work into that program, did it all on my own time, and on my own laptop.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    Provided Answers: 54
    You really need to consult with a lawyer that specialized in Intellectual Property issues.

    Based on the IP address that you used to post this message, I assume the United States law applies and that you aren't in either of the states (Massachusetts or Louisiana) which have non-standard intellectual property laws. If that is the case, once you told them that you used a program instead of doing the task manually, they acquired some rights to the software (as a derivative work) even though you created it on your own time. If you installed the software onto their hardware, then they have a right to keep and use a copy of it.

    Once again, please contact a lawyer on this. There probably is significant legal risk in anything you might do from this point on without getting good legal advice.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    Provided Answers: 59
    OK so you've created a program on your own time
    subsequently changes have been made to that program at work on their time, and presumably on their cash
    in UK law you don't have a leg to stand on, its theirs, unless you can demonstrate it has only ever been done in your own time, on your own equipment, and even then they would have a claim that its based on knowledge garnered from their employment.

    had you discussed the work before bringing it to your employers then you might have a case.

    if you take steps to block access or control it once you leave you make yourself open to all manner of problems, possible blackmail as well as IPR theft.

    what you could do is keep doing your job, but dont' push the boat out in terms of a handover, leave and then demand a consultancy rate to fix the problem.

    from what you have said so far you have no rights to the IPR, no rights to control or dictate terms. but if what you say is true then after you have left they may get so desperate that they may accede to paying you to fix it. if they ask thats fine, if you demand or deliberately take steps to harm the organsiation it isn't fine. Im aware of peopel who have tried such stunts in the UK, one landed with serious legal bills, another had his reputation trashed and no longer works in any profesional capacity.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    2
    That's disheartening. I'm not looking to pursue legal action against them. I'm just a jaded employee that doesn't like the fact that they will continue to benefit from my hard work even after I leave. I don't really have any interest in hurting the company... The managers are just bad people.

    It's frustrating that I could get in trouble for removing my program from their computers.

    Anyways thanks for the responses - I appreciate it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5,442
    Provided Answers: 14
    The only thing you can do without too much risk consists in creating a .mde (or .accde) then "lose" the source .mdb file. Anything more would get you in (possibly big) troubles.
    Have a nice day!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    Provided Answers: 59
    Deliberately making the app an mde and `loosing` the mdb crosses the line in my books.
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

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