so the situation I want to ask you about is as follows:
The Client Company has a project that is made of three parts:
- A front-end web app
- A back-office
- An API (back-end)
The front/back parts were developed by a contracted company, we can call them Bad Contractor, and the API was developed by a few contracted IT students. The result for the Client is a late, non-functional, mess of spaghetti code with severe security problems.
This is where we come in: Client wants us to quickly hack a few fixes/functionalities on the existing codebase, the bare minimum that they could continue working with, after which we will redo their project cleanly from scratch.
The front/back parts have NO license mentions, the API part has a license mention that specifies that the code belongs to the authors until Client has paid the authors in full - which has been done, so there shouldn't be an issue with that part of the codebase.
All the fees for Bad Contractor were paid in full as well - however their relationship ended on bad terms because of the quality of their work (they wanted to keep 'maintaining' their mess), and to our knowledge, the source code probably still belongs to them (in France, AFAIK, if there is no explicit mention of giving away source code, a license is only for use).
So my questions are: who is liable if Bad Contractor learns of this reuse of their code? Is our Client liable for giving us the code and telling us to work on it? Are we liable for accepting to work on code the client gave us? Or both?
Heck, can I be made personally liable if it can be proven that I worked on it with this knowledge, even just as an employee?