Code written by programmers in their spare time also counts as a company?


Editor’s note: This article is from the WeChat public account “Heart of the Machine” (ID: almosthuman2014), the author is Synced.According to ZDNet, two Russian developers have been arrested recently. One of them is Igor Sysoev, the father of the popular web server Nginx.The reason given by the police was that the two were suspected of project infringement.This project refers to Nginx, which was developed by Igor Sysoev in his free time 15 years ago while working in his old club.Igor Sysoev worked for Russian company Rambler 15 years ago (parent company of one of Russia’s largest search engines and Internet portal “”), during which time he developed the web server Nginx in his spare time.At present, Nginx has become a server that is popular all over the world, and both BAT and Facebook regard it as part of the corporate IT architecture.Igor Sysoev also used this project to start NGINX in 2011.But many years later, his old owner, Rambler, claimed that Nginx was developed by Sysoev during his tenure at Rambler, and the ownership should be company-owned.Sudden arrest of Nginx’s father According to ZDnet reports, on December 12, Russian police searched the commercial server company Nginx and took away two co-founders on the spot.The earliest news broke was an Nginx employee who stated in a tweet that the company’s two founders, Konovalov and Sysoev, were taken away.At the same time, he stated that the situation was under review and that other personnel were not currently being detained.Photo source: Twitter user @Anton Nesterov Photo source: ZDnetNginx is a lightweight web server / reverse generation server and email proxy server, released under the BSD-like protocol, with “less memory” and “concurrency””Strong ability”, the first public version 0.1.0 was released on October 4, 2004.Many domestic companies have nginx websites, including top-level companies such as Baidu,, Sina, Netease, Tencent, and Taobao.In February 2019, NGINX eventually replaced Apache HTTPD as the most widely deployed server on the Internet.According to Netcraft’s December 2019 web server survey, NGINX has a market share of 38%.Nginx’s search was suspected to be related to a previous lawsuit by Rambler Group.Rambler Group is the parent company of, one of Russia’s largest search engines and Internet portals.Last week, the Rambler Group filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against NGINX, claiming full ownership of the NGINX code.The reason is that Igor Sysoev developed Nginx while working as a system administrator at the Rambler Group, so the Rambler Group is the legal owner of all Nginx code.On the day that the two co-founders were taken away, an employee of Nginx @igorippolitov issued a search warrant related picture on Twitter, and was immediately asked to delete it.Tweet: “It looks like Rambler filled out this copyright statement about Nginx and Sysoev and NGINX was raided (unconfirmed) by the police. NGINX employee @igorippolitov was the original publisher, but someone asked him to delete it.Figure: Rambler Group’s copyright statement Later, the Rambler Group also made an official reply in Russian to the media: Picture source: Russian media The Bell In this reply, the Rambler Group explained two issues, one is”Is the search related to the previous statement of the Rambler Group?” Second, “What is the exact meaning of the infringement of the rights of the Rambler Group in the statement?” The Rambler Group stated that since the beginning of 2000, the development work completed by Igor Sysoev belongs to itsWithin the framework of Rambler’s industrial relations, any use of the Program by any other entity without the consent of the Rambler Group infringes the exclusive right.According to media sources close to NGINX, the two co-founders were released after being questioned, but their personal phones have been confiscated.Source: Russian media The Bell, NGINX has not formally responded to the matter.Igor Sysoev: Nginx was indeed developed during his tenure at Rambler, but I used my spare time on LinkedIn to introduce myself as “the author of Nginx”.He graduated from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, and worked at Russia’s Rambler company from 2000 to 2011 as a system administrator for the company for nearly 11 years.Sysoev has never denied that Nginx was developed during his tenure with former owner Rambler.But in an interview in 2012, he stated that he developed Nginx in his spare time, and Rambler didn’t even know it at first.He stated that the server was not originally deployed at Rambler, but at the and websites.Rambler started using Nginx only after a curious colleague asked.After leaving Rambler, Igor Sysoev founded NGINX in the United States to provide supporting tools and support services for Nginx deployment systems.The company is headquartered in San Francisco, but has offices around the world, including Moscow.In 2019, NGINX was acquired by F5 Framework and continues to operate as a subsidiary of the latter.Does something you develop in your spare time belong to the company?After Igor Sysoev was arrested, Zhihu also initiated related discussions–Does the developer’s spare time develop belong to himself or the company?It can be seen from the answer area that different companies have different attitudes to this question.In order to avoid disputes or harm the company’s interests, some companies will directly state in the labor contract that what they create in their spare time also belongs to the company.However, some companies are more relaxed. As long as the software copy and hardware settings belonging to the company are not used in the development process, the development results belong to the individual employees.But from a company’s perspective, is it really a way to maximize intellectual property rights with quitting employees?Are there any other options?Wu Jun, a former senior senior researcher at Google, mentioned Cisco’s approach on this issue in The Top of the Wave.After listing, Cisco’s founding employees faced enthusiasm and reduced efficiency, but they still possessed many outstanding qualities of entrepreneurs, such as creativity, hard work, and enthusiasm.In order to make this part of the staff to the best of their ability, Cisco executives Chambers began to encourage capable employees to start businesses.On the surface, this approach does not seem to be good for the company, and it may also result in the loss of good employees.But Chambers’s approach is to invest in companies founded by its own employees, and if those companies succeed, Cisco has a preferential acquisition right.This innovative management model has played a large role in Cisco’s success.Of course, this approach may not be suitable for every company, and it may not be able to create a successful enterprise.But this example can show that we may have other options for treating “knowledge results created by employees in their spare time.”Reference link: / question / 360737017 / answer / 934801767? utm_source = wechat_session & utm_medium = social & utm_oi = 56560353017856 (cover image from