There are many legal issues that arise in software development. Unfortunately, they’re often identified too late. This leads to broken business relationships, non-performance, and even lawsuits.
To avoid this type of mess, whether you’re a software developer or paying for app development, the best tool to use is a professionally prepared written software development agreement that’s signed by the parties.
Because a good app development contract identifies all of the key issues and creates a blueprint both for performance and simple dispute resolution if there’s a disagreement.
A detailed scope of work, a.k.a. statement of work, helps eliminate performance issues, setting milestones for the developer to achieve in exchange for receipt of partial payment. This scope of work can be found as part of a single project software development agreement or be contained in a written work order that’s tied to a master services agreement for multiple projects over time.
In addition to performance issues, intellectual property ownership is an essential issue to address to avoid legal problems.
Now it’s very common for neither the software developer nor the client to truly know who owns what. In many app development projects both the client and the developer believe they own the code while the other party merely has permission (a license) to use the application.
Complicating the ownership issue is the frequent use of open source code (and even public domain code) as part of software development.
Of course, some believe this nitpicking over “legal mumbo jumbo.” Yet it’s not. Particularly if the developer wants to recycle the code on other projects. Or the client believes it owns the code but doesn’t. It’s a recipe for spending years in court arguing over intellectual property rights while trying to collect damages from the other party.