I developed a logging application. I started a process with my employer to integrate the application on-premise at their client's servers.

The application was developed by me, during my free time.

One part of the requirements is to deploy the source code to their source control repositories.

Is there any type of contract that we can agree to, so, somehow, I still get the ownership of the application code? Regardless of what happens with my employment contract.

  • Did you develop the software while being employed with the company? Have you already released the software under an open source license, published elsewhere? You put that as a tag but did not explain in your question what you mean by that.
    – Brandin
    Feb 27, 2018 at 12:36
  • Sorry, but i didn't knew what tags to select (i am completely new to this area). The software development started before getting employed here, and i continued to work on it while i was employed as well (on my free time)
    – Catalin
    Feb 27, 2018 at 13:04
  • If you want to retain ownership of the application, unfortunately it's probably best just not to show it to your employer. Now, you will likely feel pressured to give them ownership of the software or that it will become your job to develop the same software for them (which they will then own). If this was an already developed open source application that was already released under an open source license, it might be a different situation.
    – Brandin
    Feb 27, 2018 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


You automatically retain ownership of the copyright on the application, unless you sign it away. What you need is a contract to set out the rules under which the company can use and modify the software.

Consider what you want in exchange for giving them the software. Do you want to be paid? Lump sum or on-going fees as long as they use it? And when they want to modify it, do you want them to have the right to do it themselves or must they ask you? And if they have that right, do they have to share the changes with you, even after you left the company?

There are many licences that cover this sort of thing. Two you might want to consider are a BSD-style licence and the GPL.

BSD licences basically state that the software must retain a notice acknowledging your ownership (copyright). GPL requires the company to publish changes it makes. Between those two there are many other options, but they are a good place to start.

  • Thank you! i will have a look over BSD licencing. Haven't thought about any details right now, i am happy they use it, but i still want to have somewhat of control over the source code
    – Catalin
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:09

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