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More perils of outsourcing


"Jolly Technologies, a division of U.S. company Jolly Inc., reported Wednesday that an insider stole portions of the source code and confidential design documents relating to one of its key products, at its research and development center in Mumbai, India. The company has as a result halted all development activities at the center...

...the sluggish Indian legal system and the absence of intellectual property laws make it nearly impossible to enforce such agreements, the company said."

http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/08/05/HNcodestolen_1.html

open source by default
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Oh boo-hoo...cry me a river!

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Thursday, August 05, 2004

And this surprises them (or anyone else)? They took the chance of setting up shop in a place where they couldn't depend on the legal system to protect their property and *now* they're throwing a hissy fit? Sorry, folks - no sympathy here.

Like the man said, "You pay your money, you take your chances."

wmeconsulting.us
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bet they aren't so Jolly now! :-)


Thursday, August 05, 2004


On one of our *BIG* internal projects, we ahve a new guy who happens to be Indian.  We're getting close to release on the project and we're looking for a few smaller components to complete it.

He has repeatedly just said "why don't we distribute Visio with it?" or "why don't we just add this?" and I've repeatedly said that "we do *NOT* have distribution and/or resale rights", but to no avail.

He admitted that he does not care about licensing and/or distribution as long as it helps us now.

In front of my boss I pointed out:  "If you're not willing to buy other peoples' software, why should anyone buy yours?"

KC
Thursday, August 05, 2004

It seems pretty obvious you want to get rid of these guys, now, one thing you want to be careful of 'are they politically connected' i.e. someone's  daughters,wives,girlfriends ...

One company I worked at hired the CFO's two spoiled rich kid sons (As developers) who used the hall as a driving range, but there was, and were inviting their friends to hang out in the lunch room. But obnoxius and useless as they were there was no way to get rid of them.

If they are not  higly connected:
Volunteer them during the next round of layoffs
or
Talk to another teams manager/director(let slip that they are useless). Something like you know bob, the reason your team didn't have a build this morning ....Maybe do a little documenting too.

the artist formerly known as prince
Thursday, August 05, 2004

prince,

I think you posted to the wrong topic.  You wanted "Hiring Mistakes."

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=171368&ixReplies=14

Opps
Thursday, August 05, 2004

"one thing you want to be careful of 'are they politically connected' i.e. someone's  daughters,wives,girlfriends ..."

If "they" are an Indian developer, what do you think the chances are of "them" being female?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 05, 2004

You forgot one more peril. Armageddon.

Karthik 
Thursday, August 05, 2004

I seem to recall a corporation called Enron which was not entirely above board and Martha Stewart who has been charged with conspiracy and obstruction.  The conclusion to be drawn (following the logic demonstrated in some previous posts): ALL AMERICAN BUSINESSES ARE CORRUPT AND ALL AMERICANS MAKE FALSE STATEMENTS AND OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.

Doug Dickinson
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Will hiring in-house prevent employees from stealing the code?

Derek
Thursday, August 05, 2004

+++I seem to recall a corporation called Enron which was not entirely above board and Martha Stewart who has been charged with conspiracy and obstruction.  The conclusion to be drawn (following the logic demonstrated in some previous posts): ALL AMERICAN BUSINESSES ARE CORRUPT AND ALL AMERICANS MAKE FALSE STATEMENTS AND OBSTRUCT JUSTICE. +++


Err.. Doug, you're a bit of a twit.  You're right, Enron did bad things, and so did Martha.  And both officials of Enron and poor Mrs. Stewart are going to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

In India, there would be little or no legal resource for little "uh oh's" like this.  Companies who send projects overseas take their livelihood in their hands.

muppet
Thursday, August 05, 2004

>Martha Stewart

No, dearest Martha (if she ever serves a day) and our friends at Enron will never see the inside of one of our Federal Re-education Facilities - they'll go to one of the posh minimum-security country club prisons like the one at which Michael Miliken vacationed. Our more austere Federal lockups are for the poor folks who can't afford the high-$ lawyers or the Timothy McVeigh-types, homegrown and otherwise.

wmeconsulting.us
Thursday, August 05, 2004

I never really understood that.  I mean, I understand having money and influence and ending up in a posh prison, but what's the legal justification for it?  Valid or not.

muppet
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Does anyone want to take odds as to when the ransom note for this wandering source code is going to arrive?

"Har! Pay me upmty-squat, you scurvy dogs, or I publish your source code on Kazaa/Usenet/whatever!"

[cue music]
"Nice work if you can get it...."

wmeconsulting.us
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Some of you need to take a tour of a federal prison. It's hardly the posh "Club Fed" of yesteryear. That's largely an urban legend.

Granted, you aren't likely to be raped by a gang-banger, but it's not as if they bring you caviar and tea for lunch. You have barely literate guards who love the chance to show their authority over you. You have no freedom other than what your OverLords give you.

In short, it ain't fucking pleasant.

Former Federal Prisoner
Thursday, August 05, 2004

So FFP, what were you in for?

Wisea**
Thursday, August 05, 2004

"the absence of intellectual property laws"

Is this actually true?


Thursday, August 05, 2004

"Will hiring in-house prevent employees from stealing the code?"

No, but you have all remedies available under law, both civil and criminal.

If your Indian, or Russian outsource company decides to keep your code and sell your product themselves, too bad for you.

Bill
Thursday, August 05, 2004

My experiences with Indian outsourcers is consistent with the above claims. Our company's source code was just something to be zipped up and sneaked out the door. Other outsourcers know it's wrong and that they might get caught, or something, and don't do that.

They do everything else, but they do not out and out steal source code from client locations like that. I guess they know that the next customer is going to ask where the source code came from.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

By bill:

>"Will hiring in-house prevent employees from stealing the code?"

>No, but you have all remedies available under law, both civil and criminal.

>If your Indian, or Russian outsource company decides to keep your code and sell your product themselves, too bad for you.

Okay it depends on the country obviously, but I think most countries are under serious pressure to rectify this loophole. So as along as the country you are dealing with has Bill Gate's conception of how software should be protected as a property it should be fine. There are many countries where you can do this, unfortunately China and India is still backwards enough for this to be a gray area. They will no doubt be interested in leveraging the situation to their benefits (but not to the point of pissing off the western world completely). China for example is still turning a blind eye to the text book copyright problem (but if you look at it this way, USA is turning a blind eye to research papers paid for by tax dollars being sold for a mint per page).

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, August 05, 2004

Li-fan Chen, I've got news for you. It is not just Bill Gates who values intellectual property.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Not so much "no" as "different"

Indian IP laws were not written by the RIAA and rubber stamped by their Congress.

Rodger Donaldson
Thursday, August 05, 2004

> If your Indian, or Russian outsource company
> decides to keep your code and sell your product
> themselves, too bad for you.

  1. Whom it going to sell it? I hardly could imagine an
      oursourced company with no or very limited marketing
      resources that could attempt to sell smth by itself.
      Just too risky. You going to sell nothing, but lose all
      your clients and prospects.

  2.  Well, a person in Russia (I do not know about India,
      sorry) could steal a code. Laws do not work. But there
      are great chances that the person would be seriosly
      hurt (or even dead depending on cost of the lost
      client) to the end of the week. Each (or most) company
      pays cover money to "bratva", and those guys do not
      like to lose money.

I wouldn't fear source leakage if outsourcing. In fact, I much more fear to leave the code in hands of American so-called programmers, who do not know about DB indexes, who format dates with half-page of substring()s and who can't figure out what static modifier is useful for...

No offence, guys, but risk of stealing is overestimated, but risk of failing the project due to incompetence is real.

Vladimir (http://dozen.ru)
Friday, August 06, 2004

Forget this nonsense about intellectual property law. A much more serious problem in india is that your coders might suddenly turn into cats:

Feline spirits force Orissa school to close

Dolagobind, Orissa
August 05, 2004
 
In a bizarre incident, a girl's school here has been closed after its students started behaving abnormally.

Teachers claim that at least a dozen girls have taken ill under mysterious circumstances in the past two weeks, all fainting without a cause, only to wake up and start behaving like cats.

Dolagobind, a remote hamlet in Orissa, has since been affected by so many incidents that necromancers have been called in to remove these so called evil spirits.

According to the teachers, all the affected girls are aged between eight to twelve. They were seen clawing their own faces and shrieking like felines. Some even fainted, leaving the management with no option but to shut the school.

"First three girls fell down when they came to school. We thought they hadn't had food so we gave them something to eat but after that also they were not normal and behaved strangely," said school headmistress Manjubala Pande.

"Next day again some six-seven girls started crying, fell down on the floor making sounds like that of a cat. We immediately informed others in the village but after the faintings and behaviour repeated, we were forced to shut the school," he added.

The children have been shifted to an ashram or hermitage run by a local sage where they are being made to recite Vedic mantras and fire rituals are being performed to drive the spirits away.

Meow
Friday, August 06, 2004

Well, you know what they say about Orissa.


Friday, August 06, 2004

The Orissa school girls must have been feeling deep guilt and shame over the theft of intellectual property, thus the unusual behavior.

IP Freely
Friday, August 06, 2004

>I understand having money and influence and ending up in a posh prison, but what's the legal justification for it?<

The crimes people with money and influence commit tend to be less violent.  They have also have more to lose by trying to escape or abusing other prisoners or guards, and so tend to be better prisoners.  Therefore, putting them in a higher security prison is a waste of money, and wastes cell space that could be used for more violent people.

If Martha had been convicted of, say, ripping the hearts out of people who wore white shoes after Labor Day, instead of lying to the government, she would not be likely to be sentenced to a minimum security prison, regardless of how much money and influence she has.

Edgewood
Friday, August 06, 2004

There are intellectual property laws in place in India. The TRIPS 1995 agreement basically mandates that all WTO members have intellectual property laws that follow the same basic pattern (dictated by the rich nations of course as this is the WTO and just as there is one law for the rich and one for the poor, there is one for rich nations and one for poor nations).

The Sri Lankan government amended their law in 2003, though an appeal was immediately made to the Supreme Court. They actually published a full page warning in the English papers today.

What makes oppposition to this in India strong is the question of their pharmaceutical industry. The price of drugs in countries that slavishly implemented TRIPS agreements rose from between 20% - 800%.

It is the feeling in the developing world that IP is simply a tax that the rich nations put on the poor nations is what tends to make enforcement sluggish. However, I would say Jolly's problem is that they didn't bother to get a good lawyer and foster contacts in the right places. It's not too difficult to get somebody arrested in India, even if they haven't done anything.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 06, 2004

"However, I would say Jolly's problem is that they didn't bother to get a good lawyer and foster contacts in the right places. It's not too difficult to get somebody arrested in India, even if they haven't done anything."


Do the officials have to be bribed to enforce the law?

Smythe
Friday, August 06, 2004

I wonder if an outsourcing company with a U.S. shore presence could alleviate some of these worries.  That way, for any wrong doing, the U.S. site would become the target for the legal action.

In a way, it's guaranteeing your offshore site by holding willingly hostage an on shore one.  I don't know if it would work or not.

;
Friday, August 06, 2004

----"Do the officials have to be bribed to enforce the law? "-----

The police yes. The judges not always.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 06, 2004

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