An anonymous reader writes: I am a recent graduate, and I've been working on my own on a project that uses GPL-licensed libraries. Later a university department hired me to develop this project into a solution that they needed, on a part-time basis. The project's size increased over time and soliciting help from the open source community seemed like the natural way to go, however when I suggested this, my boss was not interested, and it was made clear to me that the department's position was that copyright of the whole thing belonged to them. Indeed by default work created for an employer belongs to the employer, so I may have found myself in the same trap as described in this story: "http://developers.slashdot.org/story/02/03/21/0139244/Beware-Employment-Contracts". Even though I want to release my code to the public I don't know whether I have the legal right to do so, and many people are likely in the same position, working for a university without realizing that their work may not belong to them.
I am wondering whether there is room for hope, since
(1) I started the project on my own, and since no written or verbal agreement was ever made to transfer copyright over to my employer I question whether they can claim that they now own the extended version of the project.
(2) The whole project relies on GPL libraries, since from the start I intended to release it under GPL, and without those libraries it would be useless. Can they still claim copyright and prevent me from publishing the source code even though it is derived from GPL software?