Who has ownership of the software? There are two key issues here: firstly, whether the customer can sell the software to others and. secondly, whether the supplier can sell the software to others. Where off-the-shelf software is concerned, the supplier often simply grants a license for you to use the software. Where the software is being written specially for a customer, then that customer will normally wish to ensure exclusive use of the software - they may object to software which they hoped would give them a competitive edge being sold to their rivals. They could do this by acquiring the copyright to the software outright or by specifying that they should have exclusive use of the software. This would need to be written into the contract. Where a core system has been customized by a supplier, then there is less scope for the customer to insist on exclusive use.
Where software is written by an employee as part of a contract of employment, it is assumed that the copyright belongs to the employer. Where the customer organization has contracted an external supplier to write software, the contract needs to make clear who is going to retain the copyright - it cannot, in this case, be automatically assumed it is the customer. The customer might have decided to take over responsibility for maintenance and further development once the software is delivered and in this case w ill need access to the source code. In other cases, where the customer does not have an adequate in-house maintenance function, the supplier can retain the source code, and the customer will have to approach the supplier for any further changes. There are many potential dangers w ith this, not the least being that the supplier could go out of business. An escrow agreement can be included in the contract so that up-to-date copies of the source code are deposited with a third party. In the United Kingdom, the National Computing Centre provide an escrow service.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.