[Phpwm] Who owns your code?

David Goodwin david at codepoets.co.uk
Thu Jun 7 12:50:29 BST 2007

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joseph jabbar wrote:
> Hi,
> Just wondering where people stand on php code ownership.
> Specifically, if you've created a bespoke site for a client then do they own
> the code or do you?  If they then want to change the site at a future date
> and they choose to use a different developer to modify your code can they?

It's a slightly difficult issue with a scripting language (e.g. php,
perl, python, ruby etc) as there is no compiled 'object' that could be
delivered to a client, without giving them the source code. So by
default the client is able to alter 'your' code anyway.

Anyway, to answer your question, we (Pale Purple) produce the code under
an open source license, so the client can do with it what they like. The
reasoning being that they've paid for it, and if they want to change it
in the future that's up to them. Obviously they could choose a different
developer at a future date - in which case we'd have to ask ourselves
"Why didn't they return to us? What have we done wrong? ".

- From the client's point of view, it protects them against us going
'bust', and should give them extra reassurance - hopefully leading to
them giving us more work, as there is less risk for them.

Were we to produce a shrink wrapped product of some sort which would be
sold to many customers, then some means of ensuring the code is
unaltered might be useful - from a support and business perspective.

I believe there are commercial products for PHP which can be used to
encrypt .php files, so you can retain ownership/control of code, even
when it's been distributed. I think Zend do one.


- --
David Goodwin

[ david at codepoets dot co dot uk ]
[ http://www.codepoets.co.uk       ]
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