Copyright In Software
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An age old question but something that keep's on arising.
A case in point: Meridian International Services Limited v Ian Richardson and
Others which dates back to 18 October 2007
It is an established principle that Where a person commissions an independent
contractor to create a copyright work, ownership of the copyright will vest in
the contractor unless there something set out to teh contrary. Here what we are
looking for is either an express or implied agreement that deviates from this
position. A Courts will only seek to imply a term in a contract where it is
necessary to give commercial efficacy to the contract or To give effect to the
'obvious and common intentions' of the parties to the contract.
This case highlights the problem of not being clear as to who owns the
copyright and other IP rights in the software at the outset. Surely this would
represent a fundamental term of the instructions you would give to a developer
who you are thinking about engaging to develop software for you?
We always advise clients to put in place an agreement that will deal with
ownership and licensing of the IP rights in the software so as to avoid any
disputes in the future. Also , when entering in to the agreement one can use
this as an opportunity to address other key areas of the relationship which
include, price, payment terms, warranties as to the work being original and that
it will follow the functional specification, development timetable, updates, bug
fixes, future compatibility, hosting, restrictions of use, confidentiality etc.
is a commercial lawyer who specialises in information technology law and
intellectual property law with an emphasis on IT, escrow and buying and selling
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court
Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign
association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-05-11 18:02:12 in Legal Articles