Software Support And Maintenance Responsibilities After The App Is Released

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When a software developer contracts to create an application, the client and the developer rarely remember to nail down the responsibilities post-release.

For example, is the developer supposed to provide support, maintenance, or upgrades?

And does the parties’ software agreement take these issues into account, including compensation for such services.

Too often, a client who isn’t tech savvy assumes that software development includes perpetual support and maintenance. This means that if an application breaks years after release, the client unreasonably expects the developer to fix it at no additional cost.

If you’re a developer, be sure to set the client’s expectations (in writing) on the front end so you don’t get burned later. If you’re not providing support or maintenance, be sure to plainly say so in the contract.

And if application support and/or maintenance is included, identify the scope of such responsibilities, i.e. what’s included, what’s excluded, and pricing.

If a software developer wants to provide support or maintenance, must it be included in the development agreement? No. Sometimes support/maintenance is covered in a separate contract signed by the parties.

However, for simplicity and cost-effectiveness, it typically makes sense to bundle it all together in the software development agreement…or clearly state in the agreement that maintenance and/or support aren’t included.

Note that these support and maintenance issues are beyond the common developer’s warranty that software will work 30-90 days post-release…and agreement to fix any bugs that come up during that period.

If you need help with your software development agreement, including any support or maintenance issues, it’s probably time to schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Software Development Agreement Disputes

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software development agreement template

Whether you’re an app developer or the client who has retained one, it’s important to have your software development agreement provide practical dispute resolution that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Ideally, your app development contract will let the parties first try to informally resolve problems without getting lawyers involved.

And if you can’t agree between yourselves, your contract should have a simple way to have an independent mediator help you settle the matter quickly and with minimal expense. With developers and clients often located in different states or countries from each other, using online mediation is a common solution.

But what if mediation doesn’t work?

It’s probably still speedier and more cost-effective to have binding arbitration than to head to court in a lawsuit.

Of course, the costs involved will depend upon where arbitration is held, the law and arbitration rules applied, whether you’re using lawyers, and other factors.

Naturally, the place to handle these issues is on the front end by having it all spelled out in a professional software development agreement. The agreement can prevent many problems from arising in the first place by addressing them before the parties sign it.

If you need a software development agreement prepared or an existing one reviewed, it’s probably time to set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Does Your Software Development Agreement Let You Recycle Code?

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custom software development agreement

If you’re a developer, one of the most important rights you’ll want to have in your software development agreement is the ability to recycle code for other clients’ projects.

And, if you’re not clear about how owns what, chances are each client will think they own the code and you can’t use it again for others or even your own clients.

Now an experienced software lawyer can craft a software development agreement that makes it clear what you own, what the client owns, what’s licensed, and the terms of the license granted.

Of course, the development agreement will also cover other important ownership issues, such as the parties’ rights to open source code used in the project.

If you need help putting together an app development contract that protects your legal rights, schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Legal Issues In Software Development: How To Avoid Problems

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software development agreementThere 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.

Performance Issues

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.

Code Ownership

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.

Software Development Agreement Help

If you need help with an app development agreement or other software legal issues, it’s time to set up a phone consult with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

How To Modify A Software Development Agreement

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software development contractWhether you’re a software developer or a retaining one to develop an application for you, it’s likely you’ll need to change the original scope of work at some point to reflect important changes or additions to the project.

So, what’s the safest way to do that in order to avoid misunderstandings?

  • Discuss with the other party what needs to be fixed in the original work order.
  • Reach a tentative verbal agreement on the big picture of what needs to revised.
  • Use a written change order signed by both parties that clearly states what has changed.

And it’s important that your change order make it clear which things are obsolete in the original work order. For example, if there’s a new payment schedule tied to revised milestones in the new change order, the change order should make it clear that this new schedule replaces the old one so there’s no confusion.

Don’t just wing it with a few informal email exchanges. That’s a recipe for disaster, i.e., lawsuits.

Of course, an experienced software lawyer can help you create templates to use for work orders, change orders, and even a master services agreement to cover multiple software development projects between the same parties.