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Freelance - give out source code...

 
Nam Lam
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Hi all,

I have a question that if I am going to do some freelance Java programming, beside .class files, do I also need or have to give the .java source code to the clients? And if for any reason they ask for the source code, what should I do?

Please advise me on this because I have not done any freelance work before.

Many thanks,

-Nam.
 
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff
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You can do either depending on the contract.

I generally wouldn't hire people to write software for me unless I get the source. On the other hand, when I buy software, I typically usually just get the binary.

--Mark
 
Nam Lam
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Thank you,

I'll look into that.

-Nam
 
Jeroen T Wenting
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same here. I'd be unlikely to get custom work done for me unless I get the source.

company I work for now has the following policy for all our products:
customers can buy the right to get the sourcecode if we go out of business.
For that they pay an annual amount in their maintenance contracts, which we use to deposit the sources in a secure location governed by a lawyer several times a year.
If ever we go out of business the sources stored there will be distributed to those customers who paid for that service.
 
Nam Lam
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Wow, it's interesting...

So, for custom work, the clients most likely will want to have source code then; and if that's the case, should intellectual property (I'm not sure if this is the right term) be applied or just let the clients freely modify the code any way they want?

I'm sorry if the question doen not make sense because I'm new in this type of work and I want to get started properly.

Thanks,

-Nam.
 
Jeroen T Wenting
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when the contract says the client gets the sourcecode the contract will also specify IP ownership issues.
Generally when you write something for someone, it becomes their property.
You might have rights to it as well, but more often you don't.

You can also draw up a contract which gives them the right to use and modify the code but not distribute it, if your customer agrees to that.

Everything depends on your contract, make everything explicit or face problems at some point in the future (and many people don't know how to make such things explicit, using only blanket statements which are extremely vague and useless if things ever get to the point where you're in a conflict that needs a court to resolve).
 
Nam Lam
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Jeroen,

That's great. Thanks a bunch.

-Nam.
 
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