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BOFH: Enforcing the excremental IP

Make cheques payable to BIP PLC

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Episode 9

BOFH 2004: Episode 9

So my plan to extort money from company staff under threats of legal action is coming along nicely. The case is fairly open and shut in that the staff consumed food grown with the aid of my excrement, which was in turn used without my knowledge or approval.

As I later revealed, my excrement is the 'fruit' of considerable intellectual effort, both in the selection of food of varying types, and the amount of lager to accompany it so as to reach it's full nutrient potential.

As expected, the weaker staff caved in almost immediately to my threats of legal action and bought licenses to use my excrement. The rest of them though, are waiting to see how things go, so it seems a couple of examples need to be made...

...a day later, the Boss and the PFY aren't happy.

"But I paid my license fee in pints!" the PFY snaps, annoyed, whilst scanning the content of my lawyer's letter.

"If that were true, you'd have a license certificate, surely."

"What, you actually printed license certificates for the use of your excrement?!" the Boss asks.

"Of course! What sort of vendor would I be if I didn't issue license certificates?"

"I paid!" the PFY snaps.

"Alright, have a license document," I say, handing over a tastefully printed document headed with a three letter acronym recognised in the computing community as being synonymous with excrement.

"You can't prove that I had any of the fruit or veg that has your IP in it!" the Boss blurts, placing his summons on my desk.

"You may be right," I say, "but I'm sure that a quick subpoena would sort everything out."

"Subpoena?" he asks. "What for?"

"Just a sample of your DNA - to prove that you now contain some of my IP."

"It won't show anything!"

"Oh, don't worry, I'd subpoena your tissue again if the first test was inconclusive."

"And keep on doing it until you find something I suppose?"

"Oh no. No, we only get two cracks at it - unless you've got three testicles"

"WHAT!"

"Yes, Well you realise that if you've absorbed my IP, any children you have would have to be licensed, and of course the only way I can prove absorption would be through your reproductive organs."

"That's preposterous!"

"I have the documented opinion of a couple of medical experts."

"You bribed them!"

"No," I lie. "If I'd bribed them, they'd say that they needed both your testicles to start with, and if any IP were found you'd need to be subjected to six months of female hormones to cleanse your system. Hmm, I might just make a quick phone call...."

"Do you take cheques?" the Boss asks, snapping like a twig.

"Of course. Made out to 'BIP PLC'."

. . .

As with all good plans, the PFY is there to throw a spanner in the works...

"Course..." he says, once the Boss has left, "I'd need my share."

"Of what?"

"Your IP - for my unpaid consultancy."

"When?"

"When I diagnosed the non-solid portions of your IP."

"?!"

"My opinion on your flatulence. Beta testing if you like. You altered your food intake in response to my diagnosis. Therefore not all the development credit is yours."

"And?"

"And so you owe me credit for what you call 'your' IP."

"?"

"Your product was modified in response to the feedback I gave you! Say I'd licensed some software off you, it was complete and utter crap - the stuff that all your clients couldn't WAIT to be shot of when something - ANYTHING - better came along. For instance. Hypothetically. Now because it's so crap, I'd be placing service calls to you to report the faults in your product, which would, in turn, cause you to alter your product in some way. In effect if you've actually modified your code in response to my service call, which means I'm helping to shape your product with my diagnosis. Now unless you had a contract with me that expressly stated that any problems I logged with you would become the property of your company, I would in fact be owed some compensation for helping to develop your software."

"So you're saying that by pointing out how smelly I am, you deserve a share of my product license fees for helping to develop it?"

"That's what my lawyer tells me," the PFY says, handing over an envelope.

"So you're suing me for a share of my excrement!"

"In a nutshell - to be O'Relily-like" he chirps.

"You bastard!"

"However, I will bring something tangible to the party."

"What's that?"

"I won't tell anyone that the supermarket down the road put you up to this, AND, I do believe that you could claim your food, drink and toilet paper as business expenses."

"Oooo yes," I blurt, penny dropping.

"So I take it I'm a 50 per cent shareholder in BIP PLC?"

"Ah... 25 per cent, and the company will shout you curry and lagers - for research purposes."

"Done!" ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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