I have been recently hacking on a project I started a couple of months ago. It was a simple idea. Allowing people to collect achievements for code they shared on Github.
So I started this noble endeavor, trying to rake in my friends to get coding and helping. I spent all my free time working getting this up and running and building it.
Enter musical time lapse
My friends pitched in when they could. As you can imagine, I became very attached to its success.
Then just as I was gearing up for release, a company releases a very similar product. I was very disheartened when I came to hear my little project was release by someone else, but it wasn't like I had rights to the idea. I swallowed my pride and shot them an email saying something along the lines of
Hey, I have been working on something similar. We should talk! It's super cool stuff.
We talk, I get the feeling that he really doesn't want to collaborate, although cordial we allow each other access to one another site.
Couple of days pass, and I see that some of the descriptions for my achievement are appearing on their achievement site. After speaking to him originally, I was going to send them a nicely worded email outlining my plan for my achievement system and call it quits. Once I saw the descriptions of my achievements appearing on their site, I couldn't just let it go. I decided to fight back.
I have open-sourced the project, just leveling the playing field and it frees me up from having to deal with the competition, since I am was only working on it part-time.
This isn't the action I can take every time, I am wondering what options do I have if I find myself in this position in the future? lawsuit? stern email?
Just as a heads up, I am looking for advice on how to deal with this without lawyers; or is this the way things play out in the real world?