Who owns the web application after it code's distributed?

Let’s say I’m building a “to-do” list application using Ruby on Rails. I
decide to sell it to a customer, and distribute the source code files to
him.

Can I then restrict the user from distrubting the files by creating a
license that prohibits distribution? That is, is it possible to create a
“single-user” license?

Or, am I limited to distributing the source files under the MIT license?

You may do anything you want with the source code you create - you may
licence it in any form you wish and distribute it in anyway you wish.
The MIT licence only applies if you are extending Rails itself.
(Although, if you really need legal advice, go ask a lawyer :), as one I
am not)

On 7/17/06, Bt Bt [email protected] wrote:

Let’s say I’m building a “to-do” list application using Ruby on Rails. I
decide to sell it to a customer, and distribute the source code files to
him.

Can I then restrict the user from distrubting the files by creating a
license that prohibits distribution? That is, is it possible to create a
“single-user” license?

Or, am I limited to distributing the source files under the MIT license?

You’re not restricted in any way under the MIT license. It just
basically says the authors are not liable for damages and things like
that. It all depends on how you make your deal with your client.

Many great thanks Rick and Philip!

On Mon, 2006-07-17 at 23:37 +0200, Bt Bt wrote:

Let’s say I’m building a “to-do” list application using Ruby on Rails. I
decide to sell it to a customer, and distribute the source code files to
him.

Can I then restrict the user from distrubting the files by creating a
license that prohibits distribution? That is, is it possible to create a
“single-user” license?

Or, am I limited to distributing the source files under the MIT license?


It seems as though you failed to assert any ownership claims over the
code when you contracted with your customer - that is the time to
clarify ownership. If the customer paid you to develop the code for him,
then it would seem, lacking any clarification to the contrary, that the
owner of the code is that customer since he paid for it. That is my
interpretation.

Craig

On 7/17/06, Craig W. [email protected] wrote:


It seems as though you failed to assert any ownership claims over the
code when you contracted with your customer - that is the time to
clarify ownership. If the customer paid you to develop the code for him,
then it would seem, lacking any clarification to the contrary, that the
owner of the code is that customer since he paid for it. That is my
interpretation.

Craig

IANAL, but I’ve always been told that it works the opposite of what
you describe.

As software consultants we are treated like Architects by default.

For an architect, that means that when you hire him to design you a
house, you have the right to build the house as often as you want and
sell those houses, or to modify the plans and build houses based on
the modified plans, but you do NOT have the right to sell/give away
the architectural plans original nor modified. The original plan is
actually owned by the architect. I don’t know who owns any
modifications the buyer made.

It has been my experience that any serious client ensures that you
sign a work-for-hire contract to ensure they truly own the software at
the end of the day.

Greg

Greg F.
The Norcross Group
Forensics for the 21st Century

On Mon Jul 17, 2006 at 07:23:16PM -0400, Elliott C. wrote:

I was in a situation close to this and according to the last legal
advice i was given the creator of the code has the copyright unless
specifficaly stated or the work was done in their offices or on their
equiptment.

everywhere i’ve worked in the bay area and new york ive been given
something at the beginning to sign saying ‘we own the copyright to all
the code you write’. i havent done paying work for those who release
solely under the GPL (anyone hiring? :slight_smile: but i’d surmise it would be the
same situation there, eg “© University of California, Berkeley” and
not your name…

if you think its going to be an issue, or maybe even if not, i’d clarify
it up front with your client. i’d think the GPL dual-license would be an
easier sell to a consulting client than BSD, eg “i might open source
parts of the project you paid me to do, but if one of your competitors
wants to use in their product, they have to pay me too”. more chance the
developer doesnt get raped, and more chance everyone else can use any
derivatives…

that doesnt change the fact that big evil corps like lockheed and
various homeland security moneyopts prefer the BSD license, but maybe
thats fitting :slight_smile:

I was in a situation close to this and according to the last legal
advice i was given the creator of the code has the copyright unless
specifficaly stated or the work was done in their offices or on their
equiptment. Thats for US only and might not apply to all situations
so calling a lawyer might be an option if that part is an issue. But
as has been stated the mit liscense in no way restricts you from any
form of reproduction. So you are perfectly free to sell it in anyway
you want.

Heck you could charge people for the rails source code if you wanted
to. Nobody would buy it but you could.

On 7/17/06, Craig W. [email protected] wrote:


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Elliott C.
[email protected]
[email protected]

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