View Full Version : Who Owns My Software


05-20-2009, 04:19 AM
I am posting this in the UK section because I have read about database right laws in the UK and hope that you guys might have some insight on US laws. Here is the situation.

I am a consultant for a computer company(shore consultants). I (as an employee of Shore Consultants) am hired by a business to design and create a database. The business I wrote the database for wishes to copy the database and use it for another company they own and possibly sell the database to other companies in the same industry. My client seems to believe that he has full ownership of the software and plans to cut me 10% of his sales. Although I will make some revenue doing customization for the companies he sells too. I still think I should be taking the larger percentage.

Who owns this database? (under US law haha)

Steve Wood
05-20-2009, 12:20 PM
If you are an employee of Shore, Shore, in the absence of any contract stating otherwise, owns the software. Search the web for copyright issues, 'work for hire' and definitions of Independent Contractor. As an employee, you fit the work for hire model. (not a lawyer)

05-20-2009, 03:39 PM
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction Steve

Keith Hubert
05-21-2009, 04:07 AM
Hi Lee,

As Steve has said, Shore should own the software but this all depends on the agreement with Shore and the client as to who owns the copywrite. The client will own what has been written for them, just for their own use, the same as if they had bought a book. It should be a clear that they have no right (unless otherwise agreed) to copy and resell the application, just the same as a book.

Either way as an employee of Shore I'm sure your employer would not be too pleased, if in effect, you would be moonlighting by doing extra customizing for third parties.