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I am developing an online platform for renting computer hardware and I've reached the point where I need to create the website. I do not have the required expertise to do that, so I thought I would hire someone to do it. I am currently an individual working at this in my spare time, but I would like to create a business wrapped around this platform at some point.

So far I've been working alone because I was afraid of so called "employees" stealing parts of the project and claiming it as their own. I cannot proceed like this any longer, since the project has grown to a size which I can't handle alone anymore.

I would like to hire someone to help me develop it. What steps should I follow to keep my project safe? Can I somehow make sure that what the said partner is working on will only be used in this specific project, and if given access to existing parts of the project, he/she would not reuse them in their own projects?

Note: It is my first time here and I have no knowledge regarding copyrights at all, please excuse any obvious questions.

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    #1, your employees sign NDA's and non-competes, depending on local/national laws. #2, hire a lawyer; this site is no substitute for real legal advice. – BlueDogRanch Jan 7 at 21:52
  • @BlueDogRanch please don't answer in comments. – Dale M Jan 8 at 4:13
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because This belongs to the Data Security SE – Trish Feb 3 at 11:28
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Your main protection will be copyright; if anyone copies part of your site then you can sue them.

If you hire someone as an employee then anything they write in the course of their employment will be a "work for hire" and hence the copyright will be owned by you or your company. It wouldn't hurt to require all code files to carry a copyright header saying this, but it isn't necessary.

If you hire a contractor then you should make sure that the contract says that all rights in the work produced will be owned by you.

You should also get both employees and contractors to agree to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which will cover any trade secrets, including customer data that your coders may come into contact with.

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IANAL but here is what I would do :

First of all, I suggest you use an online versionning service such as git or subversion. Not only may it ease your developpement but it can proof that you first developped it in case someoene is actually stealing you.

Next, when you hire someone, make him sign a contract where it is specified that what he develops there is your (or your company) property and ask him to also use your versionning service.

If you want to go farther, I suggest you take contact with a lawyer.

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