Chapter 14: Protecting Your Intellectual Property

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Property is Theft.

—P. J. Proudhon


Proudhon was an anarchist, which goes a long way to explain his feelings about property. If you have other ideas, though, you need to give at least a few moments of thought to the intellectual property contained in your software. When you release your newly minted code into the world, you also need to decide what rights to release along with it. If you don’t, someone else will decide for you—and you might not like the results. In this chapter, I’ll examine some of the property issues that developers need to think about, from contracts to licenses to making it hard for someone else to read your source code.

I’ve written code in a variety of situations over the past couple of decades: as a full-time employee (with and without stock options), as a partner compensated only by a share of the profits, and as a contractor to other companies. I’ve seen a lot of different ways to structure consulting arrangements, and I’ve seen a lot of different software licenses. Over this time, I’ve learned a fair amount about software contracting and the pitfalls that it can involve. This chapter is designed to give you the knowledge that you need to make intelligent decisions in these areas.


Although I can lay out the major issues in this chapter, bear in mind that I’m neither a lawyer nor an accountant. Get real professional advice before making any decisions that have large amounts of money riding on them.

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Coder to Developer. Tools and Strategies for Delivering Your Software
Coder to Developer: Tools and Strategies for Delivering Your Software
ISBN: 078214327X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 118

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