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Protecting Code Copyright

Posted on 2015-02-02
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Last Modified: 2015-02-08
Hi,

I have a built a small payments and customer management system, which allows small businesses to keep track of their customers and accept payment from them, via their own website.

I have sold the script to a few different companies now and they are getting great use out of it everyday.

Considering the payments are run on the customer's own website (and not a third party website), i  need to set up my system on the client's web server, so essentially they are getting a full copy of the code once i have it set up.

Can anyone advise of a method for adding some copyright procedures to protect my code. It is quite easy for someone to download my script and pass it onto another party, in which they can then install it on several other websites?

I was thinking of linking my script to a file on an external server (my server), so that part of the system was ran from my own server, but i understand that this could also lead to problems, as if my server experienced downtime, then so would all of my clients who are using the system.

Can anyone advise of any other methods? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Question by:oo7ml
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Expert Comment

by:Rob_Jeffrey
ID: 40583780
I would suggest that you speak with a copywrite lawyer who is familiar with your local laws as they can vary from region to region.

Intellectual Property law is not a simple topic that I would fully rely on input from a few of our experts here.  We may be able to provide a good introduction or warn of some pit-falls, but ultimately a legal resource will be needed to fully protect yourself.
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by:oo7ml
ID: 40583852
Ok thanks, I was hoping to adopt more of a technical solution as opposed to a business / legal route.
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by:Rob_Jeffrey
Rob_Jeffrey earned 250 total points
ID: 40583875
You can introduce a 'call home' function that is called once a day or set schedule that lets you know who is running the program and may be able to detect invalid or unlicensed execution.  However, since PHP is visible, this can easily be bypassed.

There is a compiler available for PHP - you may be able to compile the code to make it more difficult to read and therefore more difficult to pirate.  http://www.phpcompiler.org/

There are other ways to make it difficult to run your code or copy it, but your best protection is legal.   The other solutions are just to keep the honest people honest.
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Accepted Solution

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Chris Harte earned 250 total points
ID: 40583930
Google php code lock. I have never tried any of the following and they are not free

http://www.sourceguardian.com/
http://www.phplockit.com/
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Author Comment

by:oo7ml
ID: 40596761
Ok cool, thanks guys.
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