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So far, I've been writing projects for my friends and friends of my friends, which required no legal stuff. Now I've moved on to freelance programming on websites like vworker.com and I'm wondering what should I put in the comments on top of the code. I'm not doing big, serious serious projects, just frontends and scrapers/bots for what I gather is personal use. Would my usual // Written by Igor Marvinsky, 2011 be enough?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 20 '11 at 6:59

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Your question may be more appropriate for programmers.stackexchange.com . My general experience is: if you're writing code for money, then it (and the copyright) will belong to your client. –  phooji Mar 19 '11 at 20:17
Voting to move to programmers. However, this is a legal question, not really a software question, and the answer will depend both on the terms of your contract with the client and the legalities of your jurisdiction. Consult an attorney; legal advice on the internet is worth what you pay for it, and won't matter much when you're sued and lose your house, car, and bank accounts. –  Ken White Mar 19 '11 at 20:24
You might find this question of some use: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/59631/… –  Thomas James Mar 20 '11 at 11:28

3 Answers 3

In countries with strong copyright laws (I believe most western countries) copyright is assigned to an intellectual work by default.

When you create any original work, it gets automatically your copyright. You don't even need to put a notice on it (but putting your name helps :-) ).

And this means you retain each and every right on the work you created, even if you don't write it explicitly.

Unless you give all rights to your clients. Wich must be stated explicitly on the contract.

As always, I'm not a lawyer...

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You have to decide what you are selling to your customers. Do they buy the rights to use your code, do the buy the code, or do they buy your time writing their code?

I am not a consultant, but an employee. When signing my employment contract, I also had to sign a copyright reassignment to the employer. They own everything I create! And I get payed for that. ;-)

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Who owns copyright, and thus how it should be labeled, depends completely on the contract you agree with the client (which in turn depends on which country you are both in). This is a case where consulting a lawyer is a good idea.

Many places have organisations dedicated to getting small businesses of the ground, they might be able to help.

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