back to article Telstra claims ideas created in Hackathon as its own for 18 months

“Read the terms and conditions” is good advice for anybody, but especially if you're participating in a hackathon. Otherwise, as participants in a Telstra hackathon are finding, you might be giving up more than you intend. Lifx engineer Jack Chen – @chendo on Twitter – has noticed that the terms in the carrier's Internet of …

  1. FozzyBear

    All your base are belong to us

    Fixed that for them. More concise and to the point.

    Seriously why would you sign away your rights and potential IP away.

    1. dan1980

      Re: All your base are belong to us

      Because you didn't read the T&Cs.

      I expect there to be the usual explanations of a 'misunderstanding' from Telstra and a change in language.

  2. Tac Eht Xilef

    Nothing new

    The same sort of crap was in their Employee Agreements (for staff that'd been lured off the collective Enterprise Bargaining Agreement by promises of regular overtime and salary-sacrified Holden Commodores) 15 years ago.

    Given their attitude then - I was told not to worry about it (then OK, you won't mind if my solicitor takes it out!), that it was a standard part of any contract (funny, it wasn't in the truly individual contracts of several managers I knew well enough to ask), that the same also applied to EBA staff (it didn't), and that it didn't really mean anything (but no, it couldn't be taken out) - I wouldn't be surprised if it was in _every_ work-like contract Telstra asks individuals to sign.

    1. glen waverley

      Re: Nothing new

      My understanding of the situation in Oz for employees is that any IP developed in the course of your employment belongs to employer. Gets tricky if you work on a private project while you aren.t clocked on.

      Contractors are different - they own their IP unless contract says otherwise - which is why contracts written by Megacorp Pty Ltd (other employers are available) claim ownership of IP developed by contractor.

      To my eyes, looks like Telstra was covering its bases when it took Tac Eht Xilef off EBA and onto individual contract. EBA = clearly employee. Workchoices contract = better be extra sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing new

        a) The default ownership rules laid down by statute vary between copyright, patents, registered designs, etc.;

        b) Usually, the terms of any agreement reached will displace the default rules;

        c) What those terms are vary from agreement to agreement;

        d) There is no clear-cut, uniform employer/independent contractor rule for IP in Australia.

        Bottom line: Read the agreement, get proper legal advice.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    User feedback even

    Some years ago their reputation was so bad even they recognised it was a problem and went out to to the masses for feedback for help on how they could become more highly regarded. Thing was just to sign on to their system to offer them constructive criticism required signing away all sorts of rights and privacy and use of your image world wide without any further permission forever and all sorts of bizarre stuff that only a lawyer could dream up. So I couldn't (well wouldn't agree to) even tell them that crap like that is part of their problem.

  4. rtb61

    So if you create any IP, intellectual property ie specifically copyrightable content, you must give Telstra first rights to it. So send you mum an email, no, no, no, send it to Telstra first and get their approval and let them decide whether they want to buy it and licence it back to you for a higher price than they paid for it from you. It's a hackathon alright but it the hackers who are get hacked by Telstra's hack lawyers.

  5. tom dial Silver badge

    A spokesperson said in an e-mail to The Register ...

    But unless the Telstra spokesperson was authorized to make and announce company policy, the text of the contract might be what a court pays attention to.

    I would not sign a contract that contained the offensive section.

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