Ok this is a purely hypothetical question, I'm simply curious as to how this would play out.

I'm a software developer, in order to make iOS apps you need a Apple computer to build/publish it on. Instead of going out and buying a $1000 Mac to work on my app I choose to use my girlfriends Mac. Say I get the app mostly complete and me and the girlfriend get in a fight and she leaves me. She refuses to talk to me let alone allow me to access her computer to retrieve my source files. Do I have any legal rights to force her to give them back?

An added hypothetical in case it makes a difference. Say I finish the app and publish it, and it starts making thousands of dollars. Then this happens and I have no access to the source files to make updates/bug fixes. Do I now have any legal rights since it's no longer just intellectual property but a product in the market making money?

  • @K-C Yes let's assume the code is in the hard drive of the Mac she owns
    – DasBeasto
    Dec 24, 2016 at 20:04
  • 3
    The girlfriend doesn't have any of the copyright simply by possessing the code (I.e. she can't reproduce it, release it to others), but she has no obligation to provide you with access to it. I'll write a referenced answer later if nobody else gets to it.
    – K-C
    Dec 24, 2016 at 20:14
  • @K-C interesting, thank you, if/when you provide and answer can you explain why it would be different than being allowed into a house a significant other owns to retrieve your property if you were kicked out? Unless you also have no legal right there which would make sense.
    – DasBeasto
    Dec 24, 2016 at 20:21
  • If you're not actively backing up the source to a cloud/other device...
    – mkennedy
    Dec 25, 2016 at 20:32
  • Usually, a software developer who is making money out of his/her software uses VCS linked to his/her account. Example, GitHub, GitLab etc. which means you have access to your code from anywhere. But then, I'm being hypothetical, too. Dec 25, 2016 at 22:27


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