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I wrote some software that I licensed to a university club as part of their operations. Due to disagreements about the value of the software, I would like to revoke permissions for use of the software and recover the files, as while I retained copyright to it, the only copy of the software that exists is on their systems.

How can I compel the return of these files? I would argue that they are my property since I created them and retained copyright, but the university has so far been unwilling to cooperate and return them.

Note that the software was a significant (3+ years) project that I would like to use as a portfolio piece, due to this disagreement I have been unable to.

  • Quite simply, the license dictates all of your rights and abilities in this situation, so what does the license say? – user4210 May 21 at 7:58
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I don't see any legal grounds whereby you can compel the university to provide you with a copy of the program files. Assuming that you did retain the copyright (that this is not a work for hire – the university might well contend that it is), you still probably can't revoke the license. It does depend on the terms given in the license document, e.g. does it say that the license is revocable; have they breached the terms of the license? If they gave you something in exchange for the right to use the software, you can't "unsell" it to them.

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