I have been working on a piece of software for a company, that they wish to resell.
There was an mail-based agreement upon a flat hourly rate for my work, and eager me chose to accept a rather low fee.
Due to the stress and tempo of the task, a direct contract was never formed or signed.
The software was developed locally on my machine, and I was pretty much alone with it, except by excellent help from StackOverflow when I got stuck.
Now, the software is nearing completion, I suddenly hear that they have hired a new developer to make the same piece of software as me, and that I was expected to resign within long.
Confused I ask around, and realize that the CEO of the company had informed the rest of the company that I was terminally ill and had cancer, and was expected to leave the company soon.
Since I'm perfectly healthy, this confused me even more, until I realized what was going on. When I confronted my boss with this, I was no longer seen as a member of the company, and I left the same day, never to return.
Later, I raised the question about my missing pay, since I had been working for quite a bit, and not received any payment for my software. I saw that they had already sold a fair copy of my software, and since it's not exactly sold cheap, the company should have plenty of gold to pay me.
The company refused, and said that they owned the software, and everything it contained.
That was a lot of drama, but my question is this:
Who has the rights to the software ?
The source code had my personal watermarks and copyrights inprinted, but they have since simply deleted it. The company claim that they have all the rights, because they have a website made about the product, where they write that they have "All rights reserved" in the bottom.
My instinct tells me that if a company buys a service like this, and then refuses to pay their developer, then they should not be allowed to keep, and much less resell the product.
I have not signed any agreements about giving the company the use of this product, I have made it in my own time and without help from the rest of the company.
This all takes place in Denmark, Europe, but I would guess that the rules about this is somewhat universal.
Im not the strongest person to legal-talk, so I might be wrong.