Ownership of Source Code: App Development Company

July 27, 2014

As a normal user, we have fun using various apps, playing games however we never know who owns it and how it is developed. Today, considering it as an important matter especially for those who get their app developed by the application developers; we decided to throw some light and share this knowledge with our readers as to who actually owns the application and what does law say about it.

This article is equally important for those who are new to this mobile application industry and wish to get smart and useful applications developed by expert app developers. Your waiting time ends here and the fact is revealed:

The Real Fact:

What actually is the base of an app? Yes it is the “Source Code”. It is root thing on which an entire application is based. So, who owns this source code? Let’s consider an example to explain this:

Example: In one mobile application development firm, there were some issues with the mobile app. So, the application developers of that firm asked the client to provide them the source code. Now, when that client contacted its developer, the developer refused to give it stating that it was his intellectual property!!

Assume that you are the person who has got the app developed and the source code is with the developer and the problems that can be faced are:

  • Always bound to that developer
  • Any updates ,bug fixes must be done by that developer only
  • Developer may raise the price of re developing the application
  • In case, developer is busy with other projects, you may not get the issues solved on time leading to your app failure.
  • Selling an app becomes problematic as there arises of source code ownership which is an intellectual property.

The question is who should own this source code: Developer or client? Let’s see it with the eyes of General Law

General Law:

As per the law, the one who writes the content is the owner of that content and owns the copyright of that content. Considering any software developer, it is the person who writes the code on the keyboard. So, in normal conditions, a developer is the owner of the source code in case no written agreements are done.
There are certain exceptions such as principle of “Work for Hire” where a developer is hired as an employee and all the work created that person is owned by the employer may be any mobile application development company like Softqube technologies.

Expert’s Opinion:

When you pay someone to develop an app, you deserve to own the source code once them development process is completed. While signing any contract with the developer, discuss openly about the source code ownership. If the developer’s policy is clear to you, go with it and if not then find another. But, anyhow the source code policy must be clearly stated in case you hire a free lancer app developer.

Note: These are our general suggestions. We strongly recommend taking an advice from lawyers if you find such difficulty. Hope our suggestions and this article helped you to completely understand the importance, usefulness and strength of Source code, which is of great importance to develop any app or software.

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Nitin Suvagiya

He is working with Softqube Technologies as Director, since 2009. He has over 15+ years of experience in Microsoft Technologies, working as a CEO and also providing consultation in DevOps as he is DevOps certified. He has good expertise in UX/UI designing in any application.

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