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I have an agreement presented by an employer that has the following bullet point:

Employees are prohibited from using, exploiting, disseminating, or reproducing any intellectual work, in any form or of any nature that belongs to [removed], whether or not it is covered by copyright, for personal profit or otherwise.

What use is prohibited exactly? Does the "personal profit or otherwise" mean "personal or non-personal profit", "personal profit or personal non-profit", or "any reason"?

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  • If the "intellectual work" isn't covered by copyright (or patent) then it doesn't belong to the employer. I mean, they can't prohibit you from reusing Shakespeare sonnets just because they happen to have a copy in the company library. And they can't prohibit you from using their trademarks to identify their products or services, except perhaps by prohibiting you from discussing those products or services altogether. I wonder whether the person who wrote that knows what they're doing.
    – phoog
    May 24 at 22:48
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Does the "personal profit or otherwise" mean "personal or non-personal profit", "personal profit or personal non-profit", or "any reason"?

This means personal profit, or any other use not authorized by the employer.

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  • That is what I was afraid of. Getting authorization for any particular use is very inhibiting. Will have to question them on this. May 25 at 2:19
  • @NickWhaley be careful, though. They seem to be claiming more control than they can. It's entirely unclear to me why they would think that there is any "intellectual work" that "belongs to" them when it is not covered by copyright (or some other intellectual property protection). But whether that matters depends on what you want to use. If it's code written by a company employee, including you, then it is covered by copyright and they can withhold permission for you to use it.
    – phoog
    May 25 at 16:09

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