Everything open source
May 16–17, 2016: Training & Tutorials
May 18–19, 2016: Conference
Austin, TX

Before you sign: Employment agreements and free software

Karen Sandler (Software Freedom Conservancy)
11:05am–11:45am Thursday, 05/19/2016
Business of OSS
Location: Meeting Room 9 A/B Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.75, 4 ratings)

While a new job offer is exciting, you likely won’t have as much negotiation power after you formally accept the job. Making sure you have a clear understanding of your employment arrangement and how it affects the software you work on is a critical part of signing the paperwork. Karen Sandler discusses important provisions in these contracts and suggests things to ask for from new employers. Often these agreements are only looked at closely when things go wrong. It’s better to avoid that situation by dealing with these issues up front when both employee and employer are excited about the relationship.

Key questions include:
  • Will work done in your spare time be yours?
  • Can you keep your copyrights?
  • Would the company agree to specific free and open source software licenses for your work?
  • Does it really need to be in writing?
Photo of Karen Sandler

Karen Sandler

Software Freedom Conservancy

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Karen is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Previously, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation, where she has since been elected to the board of directors, and general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women, and is an advisor to the Ada Initiative. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME and pro bono general counsel to QuestionCopyright.Org. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.