How does a small startup legally protect itself from developers stealing or selling its codes?


#21

@easibor I’m aware of that, but my point is before Mr A can say you stole my code, Mr A has definitely seen the code base of Mr B, so how is that possible in this scenario? If a developer sells the code, and the “presume” owner sees a similar product to his/hers, how does he/she gets access to that code base to be able to claim ownership?


#22

TLDR: Free your code. Protect your execution

Longer version:

Let me present a contrarian view.

What about assuming that your code is not your competitive advantage but your ability to execute is? There are hundreds of millions of lines of open source code on Github, much of which “your code” possibly borrows from or relies upon. Many of the companies and individuals who publish said software are killing it both in and out of Nigeria. So what’s with the hullabaloo about protecting code?

From my experience, the only people that ascribe a lot of value to raw code are software developers or people who can’t see disruption coming across the corner. Most business customers I meet are more interested in the solution provider so they value attributes such as technical competence, support infrastructure, branding, proximity, in at least one odd case, your capital base.

If you must protect the code, one option is to structure it such that it requires an encrypted library in order to run, then issue the decryption key when the license has been paid for.


#23

@techscorpion I’ve always thought execution was the trade secret but a case like this > Uber vs Google self-driving car Lawsuit would make you feel finding the right team is actually the Trade Secret. [quote=“techscorpion, post:22, topic:9968”]

If you must protect the code, one option is to structure it such that it requires an encrypted library in order to run, then issue the decryption key when the license has been paid for.
[/quote]

You are right. Apparently, this is what makes Facebook what it is today. At the early stage, Mark strategically brought the right people by acquiring their products - what Mark famously referred to as talent acquisitions.

To answer your question OP, you cannot completely protect your developers from stealing your codes. If your business is completely tech-driven (i.e. your code is your strength as opposed to your brand or value proposition) then your primary focus at the early stage is to find the right partner willing to build a strong business with you. Offer reasonable equity that would make them stay with you.

Also to point out, unless you have an accepted patent associated with your logic/code base, it’s probably not new.


#24

Get a lawyer to draw up a detailed contract. It’s probably a good idea to start paying taxes, just to protect yourself and your business from possible prosecutions.


#25

You’re right!
In Nigeria what she wanted will end in tears!


#26

For sure anyone with access to your source code, be it your now newly hired developer or others directly accessing the code, can copy same and put on sales on either themeforest or codeyon etc… I have seen that happening…many hungry developers sell full apps for less than $100 to as many people who are willing to pay for it… again your ability to work out your own brand name makes the difference… you cant really prevent a developer from stealing both your idea and code.