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Who Owns the Code: Client or Developer?

If you're a programmer, as you negotiate contracts, you should ask yourself whether there are parts of your code that you use frequently or would like to use again in the future. Some contracts will specify that a client owns the code a developer writes for their business. In other contracts, the developer will retain ownership. But many contracts don't include this language at all.

Why should this matter? Here's what could happen: a web developer gives a pet store's website a complete makeover. The site works great and draws new business. Everything's great until a second pet store contacts the developer asking them to renovate its website and online marketplace.

The web developer faces a bit of a conundrum. If they didn't specify that they retained ownership of their code, it's unclear whether they can reuse it. If their original client sees the competitor's website has some of the same characteristics as its own, it could sue the developer.

For this reason, it's best to specify in your contracts that you'll retain the right to use your code for future projects.

Next: Limit Your Liabilities by Closing Contracts

70% of businesses raise prices or cut hiring when sued