Exactly What Are You Buying From Your Software Developer?

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software development ownershipWhen you’re paying to have a software application developed, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting.

For example, a developer might deliver a functional mobile app that meets your specs. Yet you discover you don’t legally own the app.

How is that possible?

As skilled technicians, developers frequently don’t focus on things like intellectual property (IP) ownership. They just want to get the work done.

So, what happens is an app development project ends, the client thinks it owns the code, yet the developer plans to recycle the code to use for other clients’ projects. Sometimes it’s a nasty lawsuit over who owns what, particularly when multiple parties have paid a developer for work that each thinks they own.

And it gets even more confusing if the developer has used third-party code (e.g., open source code) on the project.

What happens in these situations is both client and developer think they own something that neither do. And you may not even have the right to sell the app you think you own!

How do you prevent this type of mess?

The first step is to have a comprehensive software development agreement that’s designed to protect and clearly spells out what rights you have. If you need help with an app dev agreement or software licensing, you may want to schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Amateur Software Development Agreement Dangers

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software development agreementTo Alex, it seemed like he spent half of his time preparing software development agreements for his clients to sign.

The Borrowing Mistake

He “borrowed” provisions (copyright infringement) from different software agreements he found online and hoped the agreements he created would protect him if something went wrong.

Because he was a developer instead of a software lawyer, Alex didn’t know that many of the provisions he “borrowed” actually favored his clients at his expense as the developer.

Code Ownership Problems

In addition, Alex’s app dev agreements didn’t make it clear who owned the intellectual property. Clients thought they owned the source code as work-for-hire. Yet Alex was recycling the code and reusing on multiple projects for different clients.

In addition, some of the code that Alex used was open source code. This meant that he couldn’t transfer ownership of the code to his clients even if he wanted to…and the clients had no idea this was the case. They thought they owned everything because they paid Alex for app development.

How To Get Help

If you’d like the avoid the lawsuits and other legal problems caused by using an amateur software development agreement, it’s time to schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Does Your SaaS License Protect You Against Service Interruptions?

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SaaS License Agreement: Software As A Service FAQsWhen you’re selling software as a service (SaaS), sometimes there’s going to be interruptions in that service to your software customers. And these interruptions are often outside of your control.

Third-Party Cloud Platform Hosting

For example, let’s say you use a third-party platform like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. From time to time, that platform will be down temporarily (e.g., maintenance), which will limit your customers’ ability to access your SaaS.

Although these downtimes are rare with reputable third-party cloud platforms, they do happen.
And you don’t want to be liable for these interruptions to your SaaS subscribers.

That’s why it’s important for your SaaS subscription license to (1) disclose to customers that such outages can occur and (2) disclaim or limit your liability for these interruptions.

Are there other types of SaaS service interruptions you want to address in your software license?

Of course.

Unforeseen Catastrophes

For instance, a force majeure (Act of God) clause can be used to protect you in situations where an unforeseen event (e.g., pandemic, fire, hurricane, etc.) makes it impossible for you to perform temporarily or permanently.

Data Loss or Corruption

When disclaiming or limiting liability, it’s important to consider the scope of potential damage that can be caused and address it accordingly.

Let’s say the third-party platform you use gets hacked despite security measures and your customer’s data is lost or damaged. To the extent permitted by applicable law, you want to make it clear you’re not liable to your SaaS customers for such data loss.

Where To Get SaaS License Help

An experienced software lawyer can fix the service interruption issue in your SaaS agreement and other legal dangers that come with licensing software as a service. If you need help, the first step would be to set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Are You Using The Right Software Contract To Distribute Your App?

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software licensing agreementWhether you’ve paid for an app to be developed or you’re a software developer who created one, it’s important to protect what you own by using the right software contracts when selling your application…or when giving it away if it’s a free app.

Why Borrowing A Software Agreement Is A Bad Idea

Unfortunately, some software application owners make the mistake of “borrowing” the wrong type of software agreement that they find online. More often than not, the contract isn’t designed to protect their rights. And, in fact, they’re probably creating a legal nightmare of intellectual property rights that could end up as an expensive lawsuit at any time.

Software Ownership

Although there are other important issues, the most essential one is who owns what.

For example, you probably don’t want to use a software agreement that gives all rights to the end user. That means you’d own nothing after selling/giving away the first copy of the application!

And it wouldn’t work well to try to have a reseller receive only an end user license.

Open Source Code And Your Rights

Yes, software intellectual property rights are a complex issue. And they get more complicated if the application uses a combination of custom and open source code. Because you can’t sell or give away more rights than you have in the first place.

Do you know exactly what rights you’ve got to your software application? Or what rights you’re granting others when distributing the software to them?

Perhaps it’s time to get the right software agreement(s) in place to protect what you own. And clean up any messes that have already been made before you end up in court over it.

How To Get Help

Do you need a new software agreement? Or help with an existing one? Set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Software EULA – What Rights Are You Giving A User?

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When you license software to a customer, what legal rights are you giving in the end user license agreement (EULA)?

Many EULAs contain the wrong licensing language. And that can lead to confusion and lawsuits.

Here’s what commonly happens…

The software licensor doesn’t understand what rights can be licensed. And decides to save money by “borrowing” a EULA from another software application and tweaking it.

Setting aside the copyright infringement liability exposure for brorowing (theft) of the license, the EULA itself isn’t designed to be repurposed for another application.

For example, a SaaS EULA is different than your typical mobile app end user license.

And if the developer used open source code or other third-party code, that needs to be addressed in the EULA too.

To prevent this type of mess, talk with an experienced software lawyer to figure out the scope of the license you need…both what to include and exclude from it.