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Ownership of Code

Posted on 2011-03-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi

I have a site that I developed a while back. There were no T's & C's specified as to the ownership of the code I created. Normally I see it that I've created the site for the client for a cost so they own it. But this client wants to reskin and resell the site that I have created but not include me as part of the deal.

Does anyone know where I stand on this as if they wanted a resellable product I feell they should have been charged more?

Thanks in advance

Matt (in the UK if that makes any difference)
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Question by:Bigshowmg
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by:dhsindy
ID: 35200221
(not an attorney - disclaimer)
If they are unusually successful selling it you may have an action in court.  Otherwise, your first reaction (they own it) is probably right.  You will need to consult a lawyer where you live.  The laws vary and what exactly took place will be important.  You can probably get an initial consultation with an attorney fairly reasonable.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35202053
If it was developed on the client's time then unless you have a contract that states otherwise it's going to be seen as their code - you were their employee creating it on their behalf.  They are then free to do with it what they want. Unfortunately lack of foresight into it's commercial potential doesn't give you any more of a right to it.  You can claim intellectual rights if they are selling it without any credit to you but that may be a hollow victory & could involve legal costs with no financail reward even if you win.

(IANAL either - but regularly drink with several if it helps :))
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by:olliefelde
ID: 35205642
This isn't true in the US. Here, copyright resides with the creator unless otherwise specified in writing. The exception to this is work-for-hire. This is determined either in writing or by the creator being on the payroll as an employee, i.e. not a freelancer or contractor.
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by:Bigshowmg
ID: 35205661
Thanks guys, so it seems the rules we have here in the UK differ from the US?

MASQUERAID - so even though we are a seperate company contracted to create it for our client we are seen as their employee whilst doing the work?

Cheers!!
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Accepted Solution

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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 500 total points
ID: 35210341
Depends on your contract (See: "unless you have a contract", above) .  
Intellectual copyright remains with you but the rights to use the software are likely to lie exclusively with the company paying.
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by:Bigshowmg
ID: 35216693
Thanks for your help guys
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