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Author Topic: source Code and the law  (Read 4181 times)

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Offline rupa

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source Code and the law
« on: February 08, 2012, 04:27:36 AM »
It's a nightmarish scenario. Let's say that you're the head of information technology ( ITI for a hotel chain. You pay a software development company Rs 500,000 to create new software for your worldwide reservations service. Then they go bankrupt or for whatever reason refuse to support the software. How would you maintain the software without them? Could you add features as needed? Could you continue to up­ grade your investment to keep up with the latest and greatest? If you didn't consider access to the source code in your agreement with the developer, you may find that you're unemployed.

The starting point in answering these questions is for you to understand what it is you licensed. Generally, when you license software, you receive the object code. In plain English, object code is code that only your computer can read. Mere humans don't program using object code. Humans write programs using what's called source code. Source code is simply human-readable code. Generally, you can't do anything about rewriting software code unless you have the source code. There­ fore, if your developer goes bankrupt and you don't have the source code, it would be fair to say that you have a disaster in the making.

Software developers consider the source code to be their most valuable trade secret. With the source code, a competitor could create a competing work without incurring all of the development costs of the original developer. Source code is the lifeblood of the software development business.

From your perspective as the head of IT for that hotel chain, you need the source code to continue the evolutionary development of your software or to fix bugs if your original developer disappears on you. If they can't or won't help, you'll need to hire another company to do the work. This other company's efforts will be severely hampered if it doesn't have the original source code.

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