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software escrow service

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  • software escrow service

    This is not a WAS question, but there is no General Issues forum on our board.

    Can anyone recommend a good software escrow service? If I find a good one, does anyone else want to participate in such a service with me? I get a little nervous when a project lasts a long time and I have all or the bulk of the code pending final payment by the client.
    Steve Wood
    Join the ALPHA DEVELOPERS NETWORK
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  • #2
    Re: software escrow service

    Originally posted by Steve Wood View Post
    This is not a WAS question, but there is no General Issues forum on our board.

    Can anyone recommend a good software escrow service? If I find a good one, does anyone else want to participate in such a service with me? I get a little nervous when a project lasts a long time and I have all or the bulk of the code pending final payment by the client.
    I don't really know a lot about escrow service, other than at a previous place of employment we made a company we bought custom software from put their source code in escrow and wrote up a contract stating that if they went out of business we would have the rights to the code in escrow. Another message board I follow had this post that might provide some insight.

    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...5&postcount=44

    Kevin

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    • #3
      Re: software escrow service

      Thanks. As my projects get larger and more complicated (they way I like them:)), I get more concerned. I am very prudent about backups. When I leave on vacation, I even remove all of the drives from my computer and store in a bank vault, and I rotate backups, keeping one also in the vault, and one FTP'd to a server. Still with all of that, if something were to happen to me, or I lost everything in some perfect storm of events, the client would have a very hard time getting any undelivered code. That's why I want to look in to escrow as added security.
      Steve Wood
      Join the ALPHA DEVELOPERS NETWORK
      There is no Cloud. It's just someone else's computer.
      Web - Mobile - Hosting - Products - Frameworks - Developer Resources
      AlphaToGo | IADN (100% Alpha Anywhere Websites)

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      • #4
        Re: software escrow service

        Steve, here's a suggestion that might save you a few $$s too. Having your code stored off site in a bank vault is most commendable. Rather than pay big bucks for a professional escrow service have you considered sealing a spare key and/or access codes for the vault in an envelope and handing it to your lawyer with a letter and instructions covering the circumstances under which the envelope is to be opened and acted upon. In that way you maintain full control and your valuable time is not taken up with detailed negotiations on escrow, which can turn out to be mind numbing and expensive.

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        • #5
          Re: software escrow service

          I agree with Brett. However, I don't think the client would be entitled to your work if something happened to you until your estate recieved payment.

          My understanding is that eventhough you would be gone, you and your client would still be bound by the contract. In this case it is between the executor and your client as to what the value of your contract will be if the work is unfinished. The client may even refuse payment for breach of contract (you've not delivered on your end after all) and may even sue your estate for payments already made to the project. I imagine each state has differing laws on this matter.

          In my opinion it is never a bad idea to write down what your wishes are and give to a loved one/family member in the event of something unforseen occuring. As to what you have to do to make that document legal, I don't know.

          Regarding storing your backups. Always make a REASONABLE effort to backup your work. This includes 1 offsite backup (daily or weekly), 1 daily cut of your work (onsite), and 1 live working copy (on a hosted server or locally). This will protect you in the event that perhaps a fire or other act of god occurs. It is highly improbable that your offsite location, your daily cut and your working copy will be destroyed at the same time.

          As long as you can prove you took REASONABLE measures to secure/backup your data, I don't believe you'll have a problem in court. I don't believe a Judge will award your client any damages in the highly unlikey situation where you've lost all the work, since in your situation they've not paid you for it yet.

          I can understand that you are interested in protecting your client's interests and that in itself is commendable. By doing what Brett suggests (and it doesn't have to be a key, just the credentials to your ftpsite in that envelope) you are protecting their interests in that project also. Sometimes I'll put up an ftp site to the code I am working on for the client (if I am being paid hourly) and give them the credentials to it. In this case they've actually paid for it eventhough it is unfinished.

          I am not a lawyer, and you should consult with one on this matter.

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