Do You Own Your Source Code?

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Computer Security ImageIt’s something that business owners frequently don’t even know to check for when signing a contract with a web or software development company. You need to make sure that when the project is done, you own your source code. It’s a big deal!

More often than you might expect, we meet with a prospective client who assumes they own their code only to find out that they don’t. They paid a developer to create custom software, an app, or even a custom website, and since they paid for it, they assume they own it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You can pay for the code to be written, but it does not always mean that it’s yours.

Sometimes a business doesn’t find out that the code is not theirs until it is time for an update. Then, they learn that an update isn’t possible by a different developer because the code is not accessible, so the project will need to be built from the ground up, again. Sometimes the developer disappears, and the code gets taken away without the business owners’ knowledge. The business owner thinks they have all the login information only to find out that the passwords have changed, don’t work, or don’t access all the necessary accounts. Other times, the code is held hostage by the developer, and unless a business pays the premium, the code will be sold to a competitor.

These are just a few examples of why it is imperative that you ask the right questions of a development company before hiring them. Sometimes the saying, “you get what you pay for” holds true, and in cases like this, what you get is nothing.

ASK QUESTIONS! Ask a lot of questions! It’s okay to annoy the developer with the number of questions you ask. You need to choose the right development company to work with – you need to protect your project and your business. When asking questions, be sure to know what the contract says about who owns the code when the project is finished.

When you have a website, app, or software created, you should have a clear understanding of who owns rights to everything when the project is done. You should have access to all passwords related to your project from the very beginning of the project.

Issues of source code ownership frequently happen when a business is trying to save money and they, unknowingly, choose the wrong developer or company with which to partner. However, this is not just an issue for small businesses; this happens to billion-dollar companies as well. The individual may not know any better, or he didn’t read the fine print carefully enough.

If you don’t know code, you’re at the mercy of your developer or software company. When your business is run by software and a website, you need to work with people you can trust. That’s why it’s so important to work with a reputable company who has been in the business for years and has hundreds of clients to serve as references.

Need to make an update to your custom software, app, or website, and not sure if you own your source code? Contact Unidev today.