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Thread: Forced by a client to figve up .fla / source code

  1. #1
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    Forced by a client to figve up .fla / source code

    A client is forcing me to give up my source code and .fla files. The program is for a solid program, not a website. I've never been asked that in my 8 years of making Flash. The client says I agreed to it and I DID NOT. I would have never agreed to that.

    There are a lot of design companies out there that pretend to be their client to sub contract out to designers. So I'm a skeptic.

  2. #2
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    Suggestion

    Problem:

    Client is forcing for the source code of a solid program from a developer on a freelancing job.

    Suggestion:

    Quote extra charges for the source file with code and every assets you used to that project.

    Client has a right to claim the source if he ordered you to develop the program on his idea and knowledge.

    There could be an agreement between you and your client to keep the program and the code under a law and honesty.

    There is every possibilities to steal your code from the swf by decompile it.

    You could give the decompiled fla so that structure as you build will remain yours.

    Conclusion:

    Think of the program. Will you could sale it in future?

    If not, then sale and grab some cost from your client without any agreement so that you also have a right to sale the idea of the program with your code.

    Note:

    If the whole idea and code is from your side, then your client should not have any rights to have the source code from you and he should have an agreement with you as a service of your program in a time limit.


    marlopax

  3. #3
    Spartan Mop Warrior Loyal Rogue's Avatar
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    Bottomline is that this is one of, if not the, most important conditions that should be specifically spelled out in your contract.

    Do you even have a written contract?
    If so, what does it state that the client will receive in return for payment?
    ::
    "Just go make web and stfu already." - jAQUAN

    "Twitter is a public display of verbal diarrhea that comes out in small squirts." - Gerbick

  4. #4
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    So I did some research. If I was an employee of his I would need to give the code. However, I am an independent contractor, therefore I do not have to give up the code.

    The 12 hour job turned into 100 hours to do. It was not what I signed up to do. The client got the code, I feel raped, because now he can go to someone else for cheaper to add to it and modify it.

    However, code is like hand writing, maybe I'll get lucky when no one can read my hand writing. I've had to do some crazy things for this project that I've never done or seen before. I doubt I'll ever see them again.

    That means I might get hired again, but if it comes down to me wanting average money for flash programming vs someone doing it for 1/3rd the price. I have a feeling they'll go with the guy 1/3rd the price.

    However, he did say the work I did is better than 99% of the competition and I'm a Flash guy they actually like. Probably because I don't say no.

  5. #5
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    Oh and because this is a program, its being put into 1,000 machines. Each machine needs a different code... like a software liscense, but because they have the source code they can just change the code one by one by one.

    But then that would make it a pain to come out with different versions. Not that they would need to, because it is perfect and painstakingly bugless.

  6. #6
    Senior Member joshstrike's Avatar
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    I just noticed this.

    If you were not under a works for hire agreement, i.e. if there was no specific clause in any contract you signed with this client under which the intellectual property generated by you belongs to him, then you own the copyright on the FLA and code automatically. He owns what he paid for: A final product in the form of an SWF file.

    Unless you specifically stated in writing, e.g. a contract or distribution license, that he had to pay for use on a per-license level, he is allowed to decompile that SWF, and modify it for other machines. He is allowed to use it for any purpose and alter it to suit his needs. He is not allowed to sell the code. He does not own the source or rights to the source.

    It's too bad you gave him the FLA, but even so, at this point you would have legal remedy if he tried to resell the code. If there's any hint that he might be doing that, I would hire a lawyer immediately and go after him.

    Oh, and work hourly. A 12-hour job should never turn into 100 hours without you getting paid for it, especially if you're as good as you say you are. If you aren't going to work hourly, always have a written contract stating the exact parameters of the job being paid for. And don't let them insert the works-for-hire clause because then you literally can't reuse your own code in future projects without risking a lawsuit.

  7. #7
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    Thank you very much Josh. I took it to a lawyer that specializes, and he told me unless I'm an employee, I'm an independent contractor, therefore I own the source. However, I gave him the source so whatever. I got screwed over. However, he keeps coming back to me for updates. I guess code is like handwriting. Plus he likes me in general (could have something to do with me being a girl).
    Last edited by cixe; 08-15-2010 at 11:26 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member joshstrike's Avatar
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    Hah. I saw the unedited version of this in my email.
    I'm glad you got a lawyer. I had a similar situation where Fox bought a site I had built from the people I built it for, and I was never paid for reuse... in fact, they thought they didn't have to pay me what I was still owed from the original hours I'd put into it, and they tried to get me to sign a contract handing over all rights to the source and agreeing to do future work at 1/2 price for them. I let them hang and didn't help them with the updates they were trying to do. If they'd had any common sense, they would have just kept me on at the same rate and not tried to force me to sign the contract; instead, they hired 8 coders and spent somewhere around $150k decompiling it and trying to make the changes they wanted. They ended up breaking the site. It stayed up, broken, for a couple months and then they gave up.

    They never paid me anything, but at least I had the pleasure of watching them fail epically.

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