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At the Start conference yesterday, Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg, creator of the popular WordPress blog software, startled the audience by claiming his company didn't have any employees. Instead, he said, they're all independent contractors. "Is that legal?" some audience members whispered. We're not employment lawyers here, so we can't say. But we note that the IRS says independent contractors are "generally free to seek out business opportunities" and "are available to work in the relevant market." Translation: Mullenweg has just announced that his programmers are available for the poaching! If, that is, you don't mind the occasional security hole. Update: Audience members missed Mullenweg saying this was true of Automattic's foreign workers only. U.S. employees have full benefits, he tells us. Only the offshore workers are eligible for poaching! (Photo via