A very simple Pair Programming IP Rights Agreement

Once in 1998, I sat down with my manager (the only manager I’ve ever had who could program), and we banged out some code for about 2 days. It was a very fast paced synergistic activity where one idea fed another and at the end of 2 days our initial idea morphed into something completely different and a heck of a lot better.

Well, tonight 11 years later, I’ve convinced my colleague Ben Alabaster to come over and pair program. I don’t know how it will go, I’ve got high hopes, but I am confident at the end of the night both Ben and myself will be a little better as programmers, and might have even started something worth finishing.

But two things I do know: 1) if we come up with something good, we’re both going to want to use it. And 2) if we ever get to the point of needing an agreement outlining our IP rights, it will be too late to draft one. So, Ben & I threw together some basic rules yesterday. Frankly, I’m surprised I couldn’t find any on the net already, maybe I over think this stuff more than most people, or perhaps it’s because I just didn’t look that hard.

So here’s what we agreed to:

  1. Each of us, individually, is free to use any programming concept shared, discovered, or created.
  2. Each of us, individually, is free to use anything we cocreate as part of a larger project with a significant amount of additional functionality. This can be a personal project, business project, or consulting project.
  3. Each of us must agree to release any code or binaries either as a commercial product or open source. Each of us will share any credit and/or financial profits equally.

I’d love to hear other people’s perspective and comments about this.

Copyright © John MacIntyre 2009, All rights reserved

4 Responses to “A very simple Pair Programming IP Rights Agreement”

  1. It will likely make us better programmers if we can both remain focussed long enough to get anything done 🙂

    Hopefully we won’t kill each other in the process. I reckon it’d be the first pair programming session that ended with a 911 call though, so that could be amusing, HAHA 😀

  2. I think we should quantify item 3 a little more. We should discuss licensing and sale of the end product as …. [snip]

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