[nycphp-talk] Ownership of Code

edward potter edwardpotter at
Mon Jan 15 09:18:16 EST 2007

I sign nothing, i have no contracts, you can do what you want with my
code. Usually within a day, I have come up with a better way anyway.
Yes, drives everyone crazy, but what the heck. Makes life more fun
that way. Anarchist at heart!  :-)

On the other hand, if google hired me, I'd probably sign up  in blood.
 Yipes!  :-)

On 1/14/07, tedd <tedd at> wrote:
> At 4:56 PM -0500 1/13/07, Ken Downs wrote:
> >tedd <tedd at> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>  Do you see the common thread here? There are things you have control
> >>  over and there are things that you don't -- and, you don't have much
> >>  control over the net. So, if you're going to work on the net, then
> >>  stop worrying about your code, let clients do what they want (in most
> >>  cases they don't know anyway), and get on with your life.
> >>
> >>  Sure, you can (and should) address the ownership aspect of your work
> >>  product in your contracts, but realize that it's nearly a moot point
> >>  when it comes to enforceability.
> >>
> >
> >Tedd, overall well put, but I would add one more detail.  Sometimes
> >its not about enforceability but about expectations.  A contract,
> >like a lock, only keeps honest people honest.  But just as a lock
> >says, "you need permission to enter here", a contract stating
> >ownership of code indicates to the customer what kind of
> >relationship you expect.
> >
> >I can think of two cases where this came in very handy for me.  In
> >one case the client objected strongly to a clause in my contract,
> >which hit to the very base of how I worked.  Ultimately I had to let
> >that one go, as i figured he'd be an unprofitable customer.  But
> >what if the contract had not raised this point, we went forward, and
> >then discovered how far apart we were in expectations?
> >
> >In a similar case the contract caused my client to ask a lot of
> >detailed questions that gave us a better understanding of each
> >other's position, and we have worked well together.
> >
> Yes, I agree totally and that's the reason why I said that you should
> address those concerns in your agreement, in whatever form that may
> be.
> Without exception, I always spell out what's important to me and try
> to explain in clear detail to the client as to what their rights and
> obligations are. I do this only for clarification and not for "under
> threat of law suit".
> You see, I spent over 20 years in continuous overlapping lawsuits --
> while I made more money than I should have, it took it's toll and I
> never want to be in anther law suit in my life. You don't like doing
> business with me, or want your money back -- here it is. In fact,
> almost all my work is paid on approval. But, don't tell anyone that.
> :-)
> tedd
> --
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