owner of code

Posted on 2009-12-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-08

We had someone create a custom application for us. We have the program but wondering who owns the code to the application.
Question by:RVL
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    by:David L. Hansen
    It should be spelled out in the contract.
    LVL 57

    Expert Comment

    It may depend on the contract.  Typically if you pay somebody to develop the code, you own it unless there is a special agreement.

    Do they provide support for the code?  Or did they turn it over to you for you to maintain?

    If they support the code and you need to go back to them to get changes/fixes, then I would say they own it.

    If they turned it over to you and you have to support it, then you do.
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    actually, that's not true, gilt, because you can own an app without the code...i.e. i own windows, but i don't own the should have created a contract in that addresses this.  I would get on the horn with the person and get them over there to sign a contract signing the software over to you...if you haven't paid him, ask him to sign when he stops over to pick up his pay.
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    .i.e. i own windows, but i don't own the code

    Actually, you don't own Windows. You license one copy for for your use.

    Code is owned by the author unless you have a contract that says otherwise.
    LVL 21

    Accepted Solution

    I may have not phrased it correctly, but that's the point I was making Midnight1
    LVL 57

    Assisted Solution

    Actually it is true.

    1) You did not higher MS to write a custom program/application for you.  MS wrote a generic program that they will allow anybody to use if they pay them for the right to use it.

    2) You don't own Windows.  Contrary to what you beleive, you paid for the right to use it, you did not buy it. You have a EULA, that is a  end user licensing agreement, not ownership papers.  

    If you violate the terms of the EULA, MS can revoke your right to use Windows.  If you owned it, they could not take back ownership.

    I hope you know that if you purchased a computer with Windows pre-installed that the license to use Windows goes with the PC.  That means if the PC is damaged beyond use, or is sold, that you can NOT install that copy of Windows on another PC using that license code.

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