Can you show screenshots of an application you built for another company on your resume?
I got a great question in the mail today.
I'm writing to you because I thought I would give this question a shot, and you would probably know, or know someone I could ask. I realize there is a lot of gray spectrum in this question, but is there a simple answer? I don't know. Hence my email/message. Here goes.
I used to work for a company, I wrote a lot of dot net apps for an intranet. I took screen shots of the apps while I worked there. Can I display those screen shots on a resume page on my personal website with a brief description of the application? The apps have the company logo on them. Actual data can be blurred/marred via a paint program easily. Photos of anyone can also be blurred. My question is: Can I display, or give a visual of my previous applications that I have written to display the style and design of the application via a picture or photo? There would be no functionality, nor any secrets on how the application actually works beyond the type of technology used. At what point, if any, could someone post a screen shot of the application, with or without permission? Basically without infringing on copyrights etc.
I tried to keep it simple. I have spoken to some colleagues about this and no one can give me a clear cut answer. Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated.
Well, first, I'm not even close to being a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV. That disclaimer aside, I say this.
- Consider if the app is public or not
- If the app is accessible on the public Internet - yes.
- If the app is an intranet only app - ask your original boss (ideally ask before you leave the job).
- Make it clear what you did and didn't do.
- Make sure you indicate CLEARLY if you worked on the UI. If you did NO WORK on the UI and your showing a screenshot, always err on the side of full disclosure. "Here's what it looked like; we had a great designer who wasn't me."
- Is a screenshot going to add value?
- If it's a visual thing, and you were a contract designer, you need to work these agreements into your contact ahead of time. If you're a non-UI component developer, then do you really need a screenshot? I'd consider using UML diagrams, state diagrams, data flow diagrams, etc. Again you'd need to ask for permission to use these.
- Use sample data
- Don't take the chance of a screenshot of any real data and "obfuscate" it. I've learned that blurring images to hide data is not 100%, do don't even try it. Seriously. I've started redacting data by digital white/black-out. But for this kind of thing, don't take the chance. Use sample data.
- Make it clear who paid for the application development.
- You're not trying to say, "here's an app I wrote," but rather, "here's an app I was paid to work on." In this case, I think it's reasonable not only to ask for permission, but to include some kind of watermark indicating who holds the copyright on the application. If there was a UI designer, include their details as well.
Again, this is all opinion. Any techno-lawyers out there? What do you say, Dear Reader?