After reading this: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2016/12/09/developers-side-projects/

I'm stuck with this:

Well… maybe. In the United States, if you hired Sarah as a contractor, she still owns the copyright on that work. That is kind of weird, because you might say, “Well, I paid her for it.” It sounds weird, but it is the default way copyright works. In fact, if you hire a photographer to take pictures for your wedding, you own the copies of the pictures that you get, but the photographer still owns the copyright and has the legal monopoly on making more copies of those pictures. Surprise! Same applies to code.

Is it the same copyright principle in France? If I make a big JavaScript "generic" implementation of something that I would like to re-use somewhere else, is it legal for me to do so?

  • I think Joel's point is that if you hire a contractor to write software for you, you'd best agree (in writing) how the copyright is to be handled. For example, if you are an employee writing software, your employment contract likely says that you agree to surrender the copyright for any works that you do for the company. However, I don't see how what you quoted relates to your question: If you create a program using JavaScript (you created it, not a hired contractor), you already have the copyright on that program, so it is fine to re-use it. So what is your question?
    – Brandin
    Oct 2, 2017 at 11:45
  • I'm a hired contractor actually, I'm sorry I didn't express myself properly... Oct 2, 2017 at 14:01
  • Maybe your question ought to be more like: "I was hired to create a program and did so; do I still hold the copyright on that program?" The answer will probably depend on the agreement you made with the client as well as the laws in France. Maybe you should tag this with 'france'.
    – Brandin
    Oct 2, 2017 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


Links are in French.

As the author of a work, you would generally hold copyright unless there's a contract otherwise. L113 of the Code de la propriété intellectuelle determines who is the rights holder of a given work and I don't see anything there that changes things for you as a contractor. Even if you assigned some rights to your employer through a contract, France has moral rights which can never be ceded.

In fact, even if you were a salaried employee, you still hold the rights by default, unlike the US. There are a few exceptions to that though: software, inseparable joint works, and works where the creative process was purely directed by your superiors.

  • Incredibly good, precise and clear answer. Thanks a lot. Have a nice day! Jan 27, 2018 at 19:00

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