Does my U.S. employer really own my emails, posts, Facebook updates, Flickr stream, etc?
I'm about to be employed by a large company in California, and the company's employment contract is similar to the one shown here
. I draw your attention to section 3b, which states "I agree that I will... hereby assign to the Company, or its designee, all my right, title, and interest in and to any and all inventions, original works of authorship
... which I may solely... conceive...", and there follows the California section 2870 exception.
The problems I see are that original works of authorship pretty much include everything one writes, which in the U.S. are immediately copyright the author. And the California exception
deals only with inventions
, and not original works of authorship.
So what this seems to mean is that everything I write, including this post, is now copyright the employer. Whaaaaat??? Note, I will not be working for a publishing company, media production company, or a company that would now or prospectively make profit through writing.
I understand that it's typical for a company not to allow any writing that would disparage the company or otherwise not pass the "red face" or "front page of the Times" test. But what about everything else?
1. Should I assign a high probability that a court would find for me if the company ever goes insane and starts claiming ownership over my posts or short stories or whatever?
2. Should I put an asterisk in the contract next to "original works of authorship" and write that the contract does not cover works that do not relate to the company's current or prospective business?
3. Should I just shut up and sign?