View Full Version : Resolved How do I copyright my code? [UK]
06-23-2011, 04:09 PM
I'm newly registered here, however I have had codingforums bookmarked for a while now.
I have searched these forums for the word 'copyright' and it has popped up a few times, however I am still unsure as to my solution, which I was hoping could be answered by someone here.
I am based in the UK, so I guess the UK laws apply, my client is also UK based.
I am working freelance on a large project, normally I wouldn't worry about copyright, however in this instance the code is being hosted on my clients webserver, and it's not something I'd like replicated for my client to sell on.
The project is php, mysql. I am developing a site with CMS, with a webapp for the front end and CMS. A members section and online booking. There are more modules but I don't need to list them, as I don't think they'll effect the answer.
I am looking to copyright my code - which is bespoke. I would like to copyright against distribution and replication of any or all of the coding.
Is this possible? and How would I go about it?
I have had a look around copyright.co.uk but haven't got anywhere.
06-23-2011, 04:23 PM
I hate to tell you this, but you probably don't have exclusive rights to the code you're writing. It really depends on what type of contract you signed with your client, but most freelance programming is done under a contract which transfers full ownership of the product over to the client upon payment, and that includes copyrights.
If your contract specifically states that you own all rights to the product you are coding, then you may be able to protect your rights in the courts. Otherwise, it would be a simple matter to argue that you were contracted to create a product that your client can do anything they want to with after they buy it, including reselling it.
06-23-2011, 04:27 PM
Ok, that makes sense.
Thanks for your reply Fumigator, would it make a difference if I am currently writing up the contract? We are just at the stage of finalizing the sitemap and how the site will work, with costings etc, and within the next couple of days I am to send a contract across.
Is it as simple as I state in the contract something like "As the author, I (name) reserve the write to the code.." ?
06-23-2011, 04:32 PM
Give them two options with different prices.
1) They can use the code you create but have no rights to the code itself. This is the cheap option for them.
2) As above, but they buy rights for the code and can do with it as they please. The expensive option for them.
06-23-2011, 04:35 PM
This might sound a bit 'nooby' but as I haven't dealt with copyright before I don't know the etiquette.
Is there a increase of price I should be expected to add on to option 2? i.e is there a 20%, 40% price increase?
Or is it more what I value it as?
06-23-2011, 06:05 PM
Whatever you value it at. If you're allowing the customer full rights for distribution, resale etc., you have to work out how much, potentially, you may lose from that and work from there.
That's why I only build my 'unique' code for hosting on my own dedicated servers.
Don't become too hung up on copyright. Start to think about enforcing copyright and the cost that could incur. Then you may see why keeping it concealed is the best form of protection for your work.
If you let someone have your code, on their server or elsewhere, you have thrown it into the open for anyone to use.
How would you know when your code has been compromised? well, unless you are going to seek court orders to inspect everyone's servers, you won't be able to know.
May I ask, is this code written in response to what they asked for? If so, they could have got it written by any proficient coder. If the coding was borne out of your own imagination (and it has a monetary value or business use), then I would keep it on my server so 'no-one' would have access to it.
Are any of your modules unique?
06-24-2011, 11:23 AM
thankyou so much for all your comments it has been very very useful.
After a long chat with my co-worker and consulting this thread, we have decided that although we wouldn't like to give the code away, it is really the clients idea/concept that we are being contracted to develop.
in the LOA we are specified that the brand, design and code ownership is only theirs once full payment has been made.
I guess this is the best outcome we could get really, as bazz highlighted - it was their idea, and we have been chosen to do work for them.
thanks for your inputs dudes